PA Doctor Regarding Coronavirus Closures: Think Of Your Slot-Playing Grandma

Written By Katie Kohler on March 16, 2020 - Last Updated on September 19, 2023
PA casinos empty during coronavirus pandemic

Valley Forge was the first casino in Pennsylvania to announce plans on March 13 for temporary closure amid the coronavirus pandemic. By the end of the weekend, half of Pennsylvania’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos were closed.

Governors in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut said all casinos in all three states would close at 8 p.m. on Monday, March 16. It’s safe to assume that the remainder of PA casinos will soon be shuttered when PA Gov. Tom Wolf orders a statewide shutdown at a 2 p.m. news conference.

Pennsylvanians can still play slots, blackjack, video poker and roulette thanks to these eight PA online casinos.

  • BetRivers
  • Unibet
  • PlaySugarHouse
  • Hollywood
  • FanDuel
  • Parx
  • PokerStars
  • BetAmerica
Dr. Christopher Drumm

The coronavirus has caused great uncertainty and plenty of questions. The things we once turned to for fun like casinos and professional sports are now shut down. It’s natural to have questions as to why this is happening, what it means and when things will get back to normal.

Dr. Christopher Drumm, with the Einstein Medical Network in the Greater Philadelphia area, offered some insight last week about the coronavirus and how to stay safe at casinos. Online casinos are what the doctor ordered during a pandemic. Drumm is also the co-host of the “Doc and the Deacon” podcast and did an episode on the coronavirus.

Drumm, and all medical professionals, are very busy during this time. But he was able to take a few minutes to answer some questions for PlayPennsylvania.

Medical reasoning behind closing casinos

Currently, half of Pennsylvania’s casinos are closed due to Gov. Wolf’s orders. Why is closing places such as casinos an important health measure?

Drumm: In other countries, there has been a rise in infection at an exponential curve. If we do not practice social distancing and self-quarantine as needed, then more patients will get sick.

The health system could also be overrun and not able to take care of everyone. It is time to shut down all non-essential events to slow down this spread.  

Social distancing: Think of your slot-playing grandmother

Some people feel as though they are young and healthy enough to beat the coronavirus or avoid getting it. What would you tell them if they were your patient?

Drumm: It is time to think about sacrifice. Less young people have died, but young people have died. We need to think about population health. We all play a role together in slowing down this transmission.

Yes, up to 80% of people will have mild symptoms or be asymptomatic, but these are the people that could become super spreaders. Super spreaders are those who feel that they are OK to be out in the community and infect many others.

Think about your grandmother. I know my grandmother loved playing the slots and when this all ends, I want to make sure she can make it back to the casino a few more times.  

When will the NBA and NHL return?

We won’t ask you to speculate on if leagues such as the NBA and NHL will resume their season. We know you are a big sports fan, so we are going to keep it optimistic. When do you think play would resume for the NBA and NHL? Do you think it is safe to assume it will resume without crowds allowed at first?

Drumm: I love sports and will greatly miss the NCAA Tournament, but likely work will be so busy that I will not notice it as much as usual. I love Spencer Didwiddie’s idea of a 28-team tournament to start after this dies down.

I do not know when the virus will start to burn out, but the more social distancing we do now will help. Hopefully, patients who get mild symptoms will develop an immunity.

Hopefully, warm weather will slow down the spread. But with any new virus, the issues are that we do not know yet. Every day, our knowledge of this virus increases, but also this information has also made my level of concern increase as well. 

Health care workers like yourself are at the front lines of this. Stay safe, and thank you for answering our questions.

Katie Kohler Avatar
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Katie Kohler

Katie Kohler is a Philadelphia-area based award-winning journalist and Managing Editor at PlayPennsylvania. Katie especially enjoys creating unique content and on-the-ground reporting in PA. She is focused on creating valuable, timely content about casinos and sports betting for readers. Katie has covered the legal Pennsylvania gambling industry for Catena Media since 2019.

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