Louisiana casinos become the latest victims of the coronavirus
Casinos in the state are ordered to close their doors temporarily due to COVID-19
Another state has made the difficult decision to close casino operations as more cases of people infected with coronavirus are being reported. The Louisiana Gaming Commission (LGC) announced yesterday that, by midnight, all Louisiana casinos will be shut down for at least 14 days. According to LGC Chairman Ronnie Jones, while he was working on getting the order signed, he sent notices to the managers of all 20 casinos statewide, so they had enough time to complete the process of pausing operations.
“They are all very cooperative. They understand why we have to do this,” said Jones on Monday. This closing order affects all 15 riverboat casinos, a New Orleans-based casino, as well as the four slots located in New Orlean’s racetrack. The gambling facilities located at the Native American Reservation will not be affected by this order.
This decision follows up Governor John Bel Edward’s recent measure of not allowing gatherings for over 250 people and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended no groups should exceed 50 people. “It’s not like shutting down a coffee shop, turning the coffee pot off, taking all the money out of the register and walking out the door. It takes hours to shut down our gaming operations. So, I wanted to give them advance notice this morning so that they could start working with state police and auditors to go through their shutdown protocols,” said Jones. “It was a hard decision because people will be out of work, but I think that the public’s health is more important than anything else.”
The Shreveport-Bossier area alone has six casinos that give jobs to over a thousand people, and the gaming industry is a major contributor to Louisiana’s economy. According to Jones, depending on the circumstances around coronavirus, the 14-day shutdown can be extended. The gaming control board will continue monitoring the situation alongside the governor’s office.