The health threat posed by the coronavirus has reached directly into Pennsylvania’s casino industry, prompting Valley Forge Casino Resort to close for two weeks beginning at 6 a.m. Friday.
The Montgomery County casino owned by Boyd Gaming Corp. announced the shutdown Thursday evening, not long after Gov. Tom Wolf called for closure of entertainment venues in the suburban Philadelphia county as well as schools, community centers, and other public gathering spots.
Montgomery has been the epicenter of the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Pennsylvania, representing 13 of the state’s 22 known cases.
“While there have been no reported cases at the property, the company will close Valley Forge to the public on Friday, March 13 at 6:00 am EDT,” a press release from Boyd stated. “The company currently expects Valley Forge will remain closed until Friday, March 27, in compliance with the governor’s directive.”
The other 11 casinos operating in Pennsylvania have given no indication of substantial cutback in their operations.
Shutdown will cost casino millions
As one of Pennsylvania’s two “resort” casinos, Valley Forge is smaller than the rest — with a limit of 850 slot machines — but it is also a busy enterprise that stands to lose millions of dollars.
In January, it took in $8.6 million in revenue from slots, $2.9 million from table games, and almost $400,000 from its on-site sportsbook.
Through partnership with FanDuel, it also has an online sportsbook, which will continue but with severe cutback in wagering for the near future due to widespread cancellation of sporting events. FanDuel also offers online casino gambling.
While casinos in Macau were shut down due to the threat generated by the virus in Asia well before the U.S., the Valley Forge closing is the second such shutdown of an American casino. The Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Oregon closed for 48 hours last week for intensive cleaning after an employee tested positive for the virus
“The safety and well-being of our team members and customers is our utmost priority,” Boyd’s statement said. “Starting in February, Boyd Gaming has been following stringent CDC-recommended protocols at its properties nationwide, including frequent handwashing 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.”
Boyd suggested that anyone with reservations at Valley Forge that would be affected during the closure period should call 610-354-8118 for information and assistance.