Casinos close nationwide and in Las Vegas due to the Coronavirus outbreak – It was only one week ago that major casino operators in Las Vegas were deciding between buffet closures, a full-scale shutdown, or proceeding with business as usual during the coronavirus outbreak.
But while casino corporations like Caesars Entertainment, Boyd Gaming, and Station Casinos waited until the last minute, the Governor of Nevada stepped in to order the closure of all non-essential businesses in the Silver State.
Governor Removes Casinos’ Choice to Gamble with Public Health
In a statement issued on March 17, Governor Steve Sisolak directed all of Nevada’s casinos to shut their doors for at least 30 days to prevent further spread of the deadly coronavirus known as COVID-19:
“I have spoken with Nevada’s top medical experts to get their assessment of our current situation and most responsible next steps.
They have advised that the most effective course of action is to direct all Nevadans to stay home and for all nonessential businesses to close to the public for 30 days.
This is only common sense. In a time where people are getting sick from simply being near others, this is not the time for gyms to remain open.
This is not the time for casinos to remain open. This is not a time for community recreation centers, clubhouses, movie theaters and malls to remain open. If your business brings groups of people together, it should not be open.”
Nevada is home to 441 casinos per the latest data published by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).
Casino Close Nationwide and Nearly Impact Entire Gaming Industry
Per a report issued on March 20 by the American Gaming Association (AGA), 95 percent of the nation’s 465 commercial casinos have been forced to shut down. And of the 524 tribally operated casinos across the country, 83 percent are no longer open based on coronavirus prompted shutdowns.
All told, the AGA reports 910 commercial and tribal casinos – or 92 percent of America’s entire casino industry – have closed their doors.
In a press release, AGA president and chief executive officer Bill Miller urged Congress to take decisive actions in order to assist gaming industry employees who suddenly lost their jobs and incomes:
“The impact on our employees, their families, and communities is staggering, and the implications extend far beyond the casino floor.
Leading technology companies that supply the industry, and the nearly 350,000 small business employees that rely on gaming for their livelihood, are also feeling the devastating blow of this unprecedented public health crisis.
The federal government must act swiftly and comprehensively to get America’s hospitality employees, and the small businesses that support them, back to work. Gaming employees, their families, and communities are bearing the brunt of this economic standstill and will continue to suffer if Congress and the administration don’t take immediate action.”
“The impact on our employees, their families, and communities is staggering, and the implications extend far beyond the casino floor.” – Bill Miller, AGA president and CEO
According to the latest AGA estimates, more than 616,000 casino industry employees are currently out of work due to coronavirus prompting casinos to close nationwide. And when that job loss is coupled with the absence of wider gaming industry related consumer spending, the AGA estimates America’s economy will suffer a $43.5 billion loss based on an eight-week shutdown.
The Mayor of Las Vegas – Republican and outspoken coronavirus denialist Carolyn Goodman – has publicly rebuked Sisolak, a Democrat, for “absolutely destroying” the local economy.
In turn, the Governor responded by reminding Goodman that his office will continue to prioritize the loss of human life over economic downturns:
“Your life and the life of your neighbors and family members will always be more valuable to me than the perceived and mistaken economic gain we have by cutting this isolation period short or by waiting one more day to get serious.
I am not asking them anymore. I am telling them they must close their doors or they will face the consequences.”