BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – All state-run Louisiana casinos will be shut down by midnight Monday due to the coronavirus and will remain closed for at least 14 days, according to the Louisiana Gaming Commission.
Chairman Ronnie Jones said Monday morning that he expected to sign the order shortly, but that the managers of all 20 casinos had already been notified so that they can begin the process of ceasing operations.
“They are all very cooperative. They understand why we have to do this,” said Jones.
The order closes all 15 riverboat casinos, New Orleans’ land-based casino, and the four slots at the racetrack in New Orleans. It does not affect those on Native American reservations,
The measure comes after Gov. John Bel Edwards banned group gatherings over 250 people and the CDC recommended no group event should exceed 50 people.
“It’s not like shutting down a coffee shop, turning the coffee pot off, taking all the money out of the register and walking out the door. It takes hours to shut down our gaming operations. So I wanted to give them advance notice this morning so that they could start working with state police and auditors to go through their shutdown protocols.”
With six casinos in Shreveport-Bossier, the gaming industry is a major economic sector in Northwest Louisiana that employs thousands.
“It was a hard decision because people will be out of work, but I think that the public’s health is more important than anything else.”
Jones said the 14-day shutdown could be extended, depending on the circumstances of the health crisis and that the gaming control board would continue to monitor the situation in consultation with the governor’s office.