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Joliet casinos reopen under Illinois Gaming Board guidelines

By Rex Robinson | 7/2/2020, 9:01 a.m.
After nearly four long months and huge revenue losses for the state and the City of Joliet, casinos are back ...

After nearly four long months and huge revenue losses for the state and the City of Joliet, casinos are back in business.

The Illinois Gaming Board’s suspension of casinos and video gaming operations has been lifted as of July 1. Statewide casino and video gaming operations were indefinitely suspended on March 16, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With two major casinos in the city, Joliet’s revenue losses from those casinos being forced to close will potentially result in huge revenue losses that the city has yet to fully tally.

In 2019, casino revenues from mid-March through June totaled $4.7 million and video gaming revenues totaled $314,509. Based on those numbers, the potential revenue loss for the city in 2020 could amount to more than $5 million.

That’s not to mention the total revenue losses experienced by the casinos.

Guided by public health metrics and safety considerations, and in close consultation with the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Governor’s Office, the Gaming Board issued Resumption Protocols to guide casino and terminal operators in their resumption planning, officials said. The Resumption Protocols were released on June 9 and are available on the Gaming Board’s website.

Each casino and terminal operator has now provided to the Gaming Board a Pandemic Resumption Plan that will guide their operations when gaming can resume at 9 a.m. July 1.

“The Gaming Board worked with the Governor’s Office, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to develop a gaming resumption process that protects the public health of patrons and employees, while restarting gaming activities in meaningful way,” said Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter.

Lydia Garvey, vice president and general manager of Hollywood Casino Joliet, said the casino would reopen at noon on July 1st.

“We are very excited to reopen Hollywood Casino Joliet… While the amenities our customers have come to know and love will be somewhat limited for the time being, the ability to safely welcome back our team members and guests remains our top priority,” Garvey said in a statement released on the casino’s website. “With this in mind, we have been working closely with the Illinois Gaming Board, state and local leaders, and public health officials to finalize comprehensive reopening protocols and new health and safety precautions.”

Returning team members, Garvey added, will be trained on these procedures and guests will see reminder signage about them throughout the property. These new protocols include, but are not limited to, the following:

SOCIAL DISTANCING:

• We will have limited capacity on our gaming floor.

• The installation of floor decals and signage to strictly enforce social distancing guidelines in areas where lines typically form.

• The number of slot machines and seats at tables games available will be limited.

• There will be no large drawings, tournaments, or special events.

• Restaurant offerings will be initially limited to Take Two Deli.

• Hops House and Final Cut will return with limited hours and offering in the near future.

• Epic Buffet will remain closed.

• VIP Lounge will remain closed.

• The Hotel, Gift Shop, fitness center, and valet will also remain closed during our initial reopening phase.

• We will announce the beginning of hotel and RV bookings soon.

 HEALTH & SAFETY

• Team members and vendors will be required to wear masks and will undergo a health screening each day, including temperature checks, prior to their shift.

• Guests are required wear face masks to enter and throughout the duration of their visit.

• Slot machines will be thoroughly and regularly cleaned throughout the day.

• Sanitizer stations will be installed on the casino floor and be readily available throughout the facility.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming support, patience, and understanding from our customers through these unprecedented times, and can’t wait to welcome them back on Wednesday,” Garvey said.

For information about new protocols for reopening of Harrah’s Joliet, visit

https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-joliet.