Statewide casino and video gaming operations were indefinitely suspended on 16 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the pandemic’s impacts, Gaming Board staff across all division have remained at work performing the agency’s functions. Among other tasks, the Gaming Board has continued its work to implement the provisions of last year’s landmark gaming expansion law, including the analysis and investigation of 10 new casino applications and two new racetrack gaming applications, the launch of online sports wagering, expanded video gaming, and essential rule-making activities.
The Gaming Board has also been at work planning for the safe, fair, orderly and consistent resumption of statewide public casino gambling and video gaming operations. 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. The Resumption Protocols were released on June 9, 2020 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 on Wednesday 1 July at 9 a.m.
“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. Video gaming and casino gaming can both resume operations on July 1, 2020 at 9 AM. Mr. Fruchter continued: “The video and casino gaming industry have worked cooperatively and professionally with the IGB to develop best practices that create the safest possible environment for gaming, while adhering to IDPH, DCEO, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. We appreciate their cooperation and work toward the mutual goal of a resumption that protects the safety and integrity of Illinois gaming.”
Public Act 31-101 legalized sports wagering for the first time in Illinois history, granted six new Illinois casino licenses, authorized up to four horseracing tracks in the State to obtain casino licenses, significantly expanded video gaming across the State, and allowed video gaming at the Illinois State Fair and Du Quoin State Fair. The IGB is the State agency charged with the responsibility of administering, regulating, and enforcing the systems of casino gambling, video gaming and sports wagering in Illinois.