Editor’s Note: For the latest info on Illinois casino openings, please visit our Live Updates page.
Illinois casinos have been closed since November due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a handful are on track to reopen as soon as Friday.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker tweeted the following last week:
I’m cautiously optimistic to see early signs of progress in some regions across our state. So on January 15th, any region that has met @IDPH metrics for a reduction of mitigations will be able to move out of Tier 3 of our mitigation plan. pic.twitter.com/dXn0d2X91C
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) January 6, 2021
The state is broken up into 11 health-care regions. Once a region graduates into Tier 2, its casinos can open at 25% capacity and close no later than 11 p.m., among other things.
Here is the criteria for moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2:
- A seven-day positivity rate of 12% or lower for at least three straight days
- Hospital, ICU bed availability of 20% or higher for at least three straight days
- Decrease in hospitalizations for at least seven out of the 10 preceding days
Four casinos in regions that meet the criteria
As of Monday, regions 2, 3, 6 and 7 met the criteria to move from Tier 3 to Tier 2, per NBC Chicago data.
Four of Illinois’ 10 casinos reside in one of those regions. They are:
- Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria (Region 2)
- Jumer’s Casino & Hotel (Region 2)
- Hollywood Casino Joliet (Region 7)
- Harrah’s Joliet (Region 7)
This is not final as of this writing. But if the numbers hold, these four casinos should have the green light to reopen on Friday.
A few more regions are close
There are also casinos in regions 4, 5, 8 and 10.
Here are the remaining Illinois casinos and their respective regions:
- DraftKings at Casino Queen (Region 4)
- Harrah’s Metropolis (Region 5)
- Hollywood Casino Aurora (Region 8)
- Grand Victoria Casino Elgin (Region 8)
- Argosy Casino Alton (Region 4)
- Rivers Casino (Region 10)
Here is where each of those regions stood as of Monday, Jan. 12:
- Positivity Rate: 11.9% (decreasing)
- Hospital Beds: 11.9% (steady)
- ICU Beds: 19.1% (steady)
- Hospitalizations: Declining four consecutive days
As of now, Region 4 is significantly below the hospital bed threshold and slightly below the ICU bed threshold, though its positivity rate has dipped to acceptable levels.
Region 4 casinos are the furthest away from reopening.
- Positivity Rate: 9.9% (increasing)
- Hospital Beds: 35.2% (increasing)
- ICU Beds: 19.6% (increasing)
- Hospitalizations: Declining each of the last four days
Region 5 is barely below the ICU bed threshold, so it’s possible that it meets the criteria soon. With that said, it’s worth keeping an eye on the increasing positivity rate.
- Positivity Rate: 10.4% (decreasing)
- Hospital Beds: 22.8% (increasing)
- ICU Beds: 23.2% (steady)
- Hospitalizations: Decreasing nine of the last 10 days
You may notice that Region 8 meets all of the given criteria. However, it has only had one day of greater than 20% hospital bed availability.
If that sustains for at least two more days, Region 8 (home of Hollywood Casino Aurora and Grand Victoria Casino Elgin) should be able to reopen.
- Positivity Rate: 10% (decreasing)
- Hospital Beds: 18.8% (increasing)
- ICU Beds: 23.3% (increasing)
- Hospitalizations: Declining each of the last 10 days
Region 10 is slightly shy of the required hospital bed percentage.
Brutal recent stretch for Illinois casinos
Though online sports betting is booming, Illinois casinos have endured two lengthy shutdowns since March due to the pandemic.
The first came in mid-March and lasted until July 1. Between July and November, most casinos were open at 50% capacity (Tier 1), though there were times when some could only operate at 25% capacity.
In mid-November, Pritzker shut down all casinos in an effort to contain the COVID-19 spread.
And while it’s promising that it looks like some casinos will be able to reopen, we might not be done with casino shutdowns.
While the above regions currently meet the reopening criteria, it’s not as if they are leaps and bounds above (or below) the required thresholds.
Follow our latest Illinois casino updates here.