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Casinos in Illinois to Reopen from July 1st

In line with COVID-19 measures set out by Governor J.B. Pritzker, casinos in the state of Illinois will be allowed to reopen from this Wednesday (July 1st). 

Venues in the Land of Lincoln had been closed since mid-March, in an attempt to halt the spread of the pandemic. 

Last week, Pritzker said that all regions in the state had reached the health milestones needed to reopen the economy further. 

The Restore Illinois plan will now, as a result of this, move into Phase 4. 

Casinos to be at a limited capacity 

Like has been the case across much of the US, Illinois casinos won’t be allowed to reopen at their full capacity yet. Instead, they will be able to operate at 50% of their usual maximum. 

Both venues and video gaming terminals will be allowed to return to operation on the same day. The pair of them had been out-of-action since March 16th. Poker rooms, however, will remain shut for the time being. 

All of the state’s casino and terminal operators were earlier this month required to submit a Pandemic Resumption Plan to the Illinois Gaming Board. This will continue to guide how they run once they begin welcoming back customers. 

Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter has spoken about the reopening of casinos and video terminals. In the regulator’s official press release, he said the following.

“The Gaming Board worked with the Governor’s Office, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to develop a gaming resumption process that protects the public health of patrons and employees, while restarting gaming activities in a meaningful way.

“The video and casino gaming industry have worked cooperatively and professionally with the IGB to develop best practices that create the safest possible environment for gaming, while adhering to IDPH, DCEO, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) guidance. We appreciate their cooperation and work toward the mutual goal of a resumption that protects the safety and integrity of Illinois gaming.”

Who will reopen first? 

Boyd Gaming has already announced that it will reopen its Par-A-Dice Hotel at 9am on Wednesday. 

Along with operating at a limited capacity, various other safety measures will be implemented. These include social distancing, as well as obligatory face coverings for staff and customers alike. 

Par-A-Dice Hotel General Manager Cori Rutherford discussed the casino’s return to action. 

“We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our guests and team members with ‘Boyd Clean,’ our health and safety initiative that fully meets the highest standards set forth by local, state and federal health officials.”

Illinois casino-goers will be able to bet on sports betting 

After being passed into law last year, sports betting in Illinois officially went live at land-based casinos in March. However, venues were forced to close soon after.

Since then, the online version of the vertical has also been launched. 

Pritzker has already approved to temporarily relax mandatory in-person sign-ups, allowing players to register for sports betting online instead. This can be done either via desktop or mobile devices – depending on the user’s preference. 

The interim sign-up law will remain in effect until Illinois’ Gubernatorial Disaster Proclaims no longer need to be enforced. 

In addition to casinos, the Land of Lincoln will also allow gyms, restaurants and movie theaters to reopen. All of these will also have to operate at a reduced capacity.

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