All casinos in Pennsylvania are closed in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus as of Tuesday, March 17.
By Monday morning, six of the state’s brick-and-mortar casinos shuttered. During Gov. Tom Wolf‘s afternoon press conference on Monday, he ordered a state shutdown of all nonessential businesses.
“The casinos in the counties originally targeted were asked to close and that will be true across the state. It’s a part of the broader message which is let us limit the opportunities for people to gather together. This has to be self-enforced. It’s not the government mandating anything.”
After Wolf’s conference, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) ordered the closure of the remaining six open casinos.
However, online casinos in Pennsylvania are still open for business.
PGCB spokesperson Richard McGarvey said:
“To this point the PGCB is not aware of any disruption of online services.”
Coronavirus-related casino closures in PA
In the unprecedented and ever-changing time of the coronavirus, Pennsylvania’s 12 brick-and-mortar casinos will be closed for at least two weeks. Casinos also shut down in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware.
The closures are part of an effort to curb the spread of the virus and flatten the curve. Macau, considered the gambling capital of the world, closed for 15 days when China tried to contain the spread.
The PGCB press release, announcing the closure of all PA casinos, said in part:
“The order to close follows the rapid expansion of reported COVID-19 cases and is aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus. While the closure of the casinos is temporary, there is no specific indication of when reopening will occur. The public health and safety of patrons, casino employees and others are of paramount importance.”
The PGCB continuously monitors developments and maintains regular communications with gaming and state operators to determine the next appropriate steps. PlayPennsylvania provides regular coronavirus updates pertaining to PA casinos.
Online casinos and sportsbooks still operating
Pennsylvania is home to eight online casinos:
The first online casinos launched in July. According to a Pennsylvania doctor, they are safer, and the only way to play during a pandemic. Pennsylvania’s online casinos have libraries that include slots, table games and video poker.
As with sportsbooks nationwide, the menu at Pennsylvania’s online sportsbooks has been limited due to the shutdown of major sports. In New Jersey and some other states, you are able to wager on things such as Tom Brady‘s next team, and the possible first pick in the NFL Draft. However, those types of bets are not available in Pennsylvania.
In PA, it’s just the letter of the law, per McGarvey:
“The law defines sports wagering as the business of accepting wagers on sporting events or on the individual performance statistics of athletes in a sporting event or combination of sporting events by any system or method of wagering.”
In the meantime, those looking for action may be turning to online casino options, which are vast in PA.