Casinos Across America Prepare to Reopen

Published January 8, 2021

As 2021 begins, multiple land-based casinos across the country prepare to reopen after being forced to close amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The first wave of closures began in March 2020 as almost every state was forced into a lockdown in an effort to control COVID-19. This resulted in businesses in almost every industry closing down, with casinos taking some of the biggest hits. 

A few casinos were able to reopen by April until the second wave hit in November 2020. However, a lot of states did not react the same way as in March, and many governors have enforced different restrictions per state.  

During the pandemic, some casinos have managed to stay open while others never got the chance to reopen after the first lockdown. 

New Jersey Casino Closures

Atlantic City casinos took a big hit during the first lockdown and were almost forced into a second shutdown in December. 

The governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, forced retail sportsbooks to close but not casinos just yet. Atlantic City casinos are currently operating and following strict health and safety standards.   

NJ players are much luckier than most gamers in other states because of the large online casino market that has been available to them while the brick and mortar have been closed. 

During the pandemic, NJ online casinos have broken new records for the amount of revenue they have brought in. 

Pennsylvania Casino Closures

It was looking good for casinos in Pennsylvania for a short time, until November 30th when Rivers Casino was ordered to shut down. A few weeks later, on December 12th, PA became one of the only states to force a second closure on all casinos. 

The government gave the O.K to casinos to reopen for business on January 4th, 2021, and all but one casino opened its doors. 

Just like in NJ, PA players also have a great selection of online casinos available to them. 

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Other Casino Closures in America

At the time of writing, Illinois is the only state that has closed all of its casinos during the second wave of COVID-19. They aren’t expected to open before mid-January. 

According to the American Gaming Association’s (AGA) COVID-19 Casino Tracker, 900 casinos are open today and 96 are closed across the country. These include commercial casino venues as well as riverboats and tribal casinos. 

There are around 22 states that have reopened all of their casinos, including: 

  • Pennsylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota 
  • Missouri 
  • Oklahoma
  • New York
  • Florida

Other states are still following strict restrictions and have only allowed some casinos to open. States still partially under lockdown include: 

  • Montana
  • Washington
  • Oregon 
  • Arizona
  • Nevada
  • Wisconsin 
  • Michigan 

As the distribution of the new vaccine is underway in the United States, it appears more states are relaxing the restrictions rather than making them stricter.