The first casino in Pennsylvania will close as a result of coronavirus concerns. According to a Boyd Gaming presser, Valley Forge Casino will close its doors at 6 a.m. Friday and plans to stay closed until Friday, March 27. The temporary closure follows a rapid wave of closures and cancelations in the United States all aimed to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
It is also a move to comply with a directive from Governor Tom Wolf, who hopes to contain the viral spread, especially in Montgomery County. Valley Forge is the only casino in the county.
Wolf called Montgomery the “epicenter” of the state’s coronavirus outbreak in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. He also ordered closure of non-essential retail stores, entertainment venues, community centers, gyms, and schools. The order is to go into effect on Friday, March 13 and last 14 days.
“No mass gatherings should be held, including conferences and rallies. By closing these facilities, we can control the spread of this disease, that’s the hope. And we can redirect our public safety and health officials to where they are needed the most.”
PA coronavirus cases, centered around Montgomery County
As of March 12, there were 22 “presumed positive” coronavirus cases, either confirmed or waiting for CDC confirmation. The majority of the cases, as Wolf indicated, are in Montgomery County.
Here is a breakdown of cases by PA county.
- Montgomery – 13
- Bucks – 2
- Monroe – 2
- Delaware – 1
- Northampton – 1
- Philadelphia – 1
- Wayne – 1
- Pike – 1
As of Thursday morning, there were no deaths in the state from the virus.
Valley Forge closes up on Friday
While casinos weren’t singled out in Wolf’s address, they seem to fit in the “entertainment venues” category. As of Thursday evening, Valley Forge Casino was still open, and it was bustling.
It was only a matter of time that the casino resort would close up shop, however. Targeting containment in Montgomery County, closing the casino seemed a logical next step.
Considering the volume of people in enclosed indoor spaces, casinos are high risk for virus spreading. Add activities involving “high-touch” surfaces and frequent exchanging of casino chips and it seems Wolf’s concerns are justified.
The casino’s press release said the following of protocols being taken at the property:
“The safety and well-being of our team members and customers is our utmost priority. Starting in February, Boyd Gaming has been following stringent CDC-recommended protocols at its properties nationwide, including frequent hand-washing by team members, increased placement of hand sanitizers and increased sanitation of frequently-touched surfaces. The Company has been advising all team members who are experiencing flu-like symptoms to go home immediately and contact their health care professional.”
It also noted: “Customers who have reservations at Valley Forge during the closure period should call (610) 354-8118 for further information and assistance.”
Expect online gambling spike in PA
As Montgomery County doctor Christopher Drumm told PlayPennsylvania, it’s a good time to take betting action online.
While PA sports betting will be limited for some time, online casinos are likely to experience a spike. Especially with land-based casinos like Valley Forge closing temporarily.
The casino will clearly lose out on revenue while closed. Fortunately for them, online gambling options should help cover some of the losses. For Valley Forge, that would be the FanDuel online sportsbook and online casino.
While no other casino closures have been announced at time of writing, the closest ones to Valley Forge Casino are Parx and Rivers Philadelphia. We will continue to provide updates here at PlayPennsylvania as they become available.