Live Updates: Several Illinois Casinos Enter Phase 4

Posted on November 17, 2020 - Last Updated on February 3, 2021

Jan. 23, 2021

DraftKings at Casino Queen and Argosy Casino have opened as of Saturday morning. With that, all 10 Illinois casinos have officially reopened.

Jan. 21, 2021 

Hollywood Casino Joliet and Harrah’s Joliet will reopen their doors on Friday morning, per their respective Facebook pages.

That makes eight of Illinois’ 10 casinos that have reopened. Argosy Casino Alton and DraftKings at Casino Queen remain closed, however.

That’s because Region 4 is currently in the worst shape of any Illinois healthcare region.

See below for the latest updates on each casino.

Jan. 20, 2021

Hawthorne Race Course, in Stickney, announced its reopening on Wednesday evening via Twitter. The horse racetrack is located in Region 10, which recently met Illinois’ Tier 2 guidelines.  The facility and its six OTB sites are home to PointsBet Sportsbook.

Jan. 19, 2021

Rivers Casino, Hollywood Casino Aurora and Grand Victoria Casino Elgin have reopened as of Tuesday.

They join Par-A-Dice Casino, Harrah’s Metropolis and Jumer’s Casino & Hotel on the list of Illinois casinos that are open.

That makes six out of IL’s 10 casinos that have reopened their doors.

DraftKings at Casino Queen, Argosy Casino Alton, Hollywood Casino Joliet and Harrah’s Joliet currently do not meet Illinois’ Tier 2 guidelines. Once they do, they can also reopen.

Based on COVID-19 metrics, it’s likely that the Joliet casinos will open before DraftKings at Casino Queen or Argosy Casino Alton, both located in Region 4.

 

Jan. 15, 2021

Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel and Harrah’s Metropolis reopened their doors at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16.

Hollywood Casino Joliet, meanwhile, has put a halt on its plans to reopen on Friday. It says it is “close” to meeting Tier 2 guidelines, so stay on the lookout.

Harrah’s Joliet would also be able to open up once Region 7 meets Tier 2 guidelines.

We haven’t word from any other casino at this time.

Jan. 15, 2021

Gov. JB Pritzker spoke on Friday about moving from Tier 3 to Tier 2, and mentioned how the first UK strain has been found in Chicago. However, that didn’t stop him from allowing certain regions to progress into Tier 2, which would allow certain casinos to reopen at 25% capacity.

 

Jan. 14, 2021

Nothing is official yet, but it looks like a handful of Illinois casinos could reopen on Friday.

Pritzker has said that any region which meets certain COVID-19 criteria can move from ‘Tier 3’ to ‘Tier 2,’ where casinos can reopen at 25% capacity.

As of this writing, Par-A-Dice Casino, Hollywood Casino Joliet, Harrah’s Joliet and Jumer’s Casino & Hotel are on track to reopen on Friday.

Hollywood Joliet has stated that it may be able to reopen on Friday, while Par-A-Dice has reportedly told employees to expect to return then.

 

Jan. 6, 2021 

As Illinois’ COVID-19 numbers improve ever-so-slightly, Gov. JB Pritzker offered a glimmer of hope.

“We do want to get everything open as soon as possible. We are heading, generally speaking, in the right direction,” he said.

Indoor dining is considered to be in Tier 1 of Illinois mitigations, while casinos are in Tier 2. We are currently in Tier 3.

In order to return to Tier 2, regions must post a case positivity rate below 8% for a sustained time period.

As of this update, the statewide positivity rate is 8.4%. If we return to Tier 2, casinos could reopen at 25% capacity.

“We’ll get there, I believe, shortly, and we want to see how the Christmas and New Year’s holidays go,” he said of indoor dining.

Once we are two weeks past the new year, it will be interesting to see how the numbers look.

December 2020

Dec. 23, 2020

During Gov. JB Pritzker’s live update on the coronavirus pandemic, the governor hinted the closure of restaurants, including casinos, will continue for weeks.

Dec. 11, 2020

As Illinois casinos remain ordered closed, Gov. JB Pritzker extended the executive order to allow the online registration of sports betting accounts until Jan. 9.

The state experienced its “deadliest” week since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with 1,079 deaths reported, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Dec. 1, 2020

All Illinois casinos have been closed since Nov. 20, and that won’t change any time soon, according to Gov. JB Pritzker.

On Dec. 1, Pritzker said that Tier 3 mitigations will last for at least “the next few weeks.” The state is bracing for a COVID-19 surge following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Illinois is still experiencing record hospitalizations, even though its positivity rate is starting to tick downward.

November 2020

Nov. 20, 2020

All Illinois casinos closed on Friday, Nov. 20, per Pritzker’s orders.

The closure also affects Hawthorne Race Course and its PointsBet retail sportsbook locations.

The move comes as Illinois imposes new Tier 3 resurgence mitigations. Indoor venues such as retail stores and fitness centers must reduce capacity to 25%, while casinos and indoor dining must shut down entirely.

Per the state of Illinois’ website, “This new tier aims to limit gatherings and encourages people to stay home to the greatest extent possible, while permitting some industries to remain open at significantly reduced capacities with proper safety measures in place.”

There is no firm reopening date for casinos at this time. That will depend on Illinois’ COVID-19 numbers in the coming weeks and months.

Nov. 17, 2020

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker will shut down casinos and video gaming terminals (VGTs) effective midnight on Friday, Nov. 20, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The move comes as Illinois is in the midst of arguably its worst COVID-19 stretch to date. Along with gaming facilities, the governor is closing movie theaters, indoor recreational facilities and reducing capacity at retail centers during the busiest shopping season of the year.

During Pritzker’s press conference on Tuesday, he didn’t indicate when reopening would be possible.

Casinos had previously reopened in July after being closed since March. Most have operated at 50% capacity and limited hours since, though certain hot zone regions have only been operating at 25% capacity.

Currently, all Illinois casinos are only allowed 25% capacity. But they will close completely at the end of this week. Pritzker also green-lit video gaming resumption in July, but the state’s tens of thousands of terminals will close once again on Friday.

While the move isn’t shocking, it’s another blow to an already reeling retail gaming industry.

So, what’s the deal with casinos right now? Return here for the latest updates on Illinois casinos and sportsbooks. Here’s what we know.

Cliff notes on Illinois casino restrictions

If and when casinos reopen, here’s a quick guide on the health and safety language you’ll see at Illinois casinos and what it means:

  • What does “capacity limit” mean? For a business to have space to ensure six feet of social distance between every customer, the business must limit the number of people who can be inside at one time.
  • What is PPE? It stands for personal protective equipment, which includes face masks, shields and gloves.
  • What is COVID-19 training? It’s an educational program that teaches proper hand washing, cleaning and sanitizing techniques and properly utilizing PPE.

Latest Illinois casino updates

Is Jumer’s Casino & Hotel open?

Yes, Jumer’s Casino & Hotel is open and operating under Phase 4 mitigations.

  • Location: Rock Island, Rock Island County, Region 2
  • Temporary Casino Hours: 8 a.m.-3 a.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 8 a.m.-5 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays
  • Limited Capacity: 50%
  • Required PPE: Guests must bring and wear a face covering. Employees will wear a face covering.
  • Air Quality: Air exchange systems “have been bolstered.”
  • Hotel: Open
  • Poker Room: Closed
  • Restaurants and Bars: Carryout is available at Blue Square To Go and Oculus Sports Bar. Food and beverage service returns to casino gaming floor on Jan. 27.
  • Protocols: As part of the “Play It Safe” program, an on-site clean team can clean all surfaces and dispense hand sanitizer to guests. Guest must socially distance. Employees will undergo a daily health check. The casino tracks incoming visitors via a registry.

Is Par-A-Dice Casino open?

Yes, Par-A-Dice Casino & Hotel is open and operating under Phase 4 mitigations.

  • Location: East Peoria, Tazwell County, Region 2
  • Temporary Casino Hours: 8 a.m.-2 a.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 8 a.m.-4 a.m Fridays-Saturdays; table game open at 10 a.m. daily
  • Limited Capacity: 50%
  • Required PPE: Employees and guests must wear face coverings. One will be given to guests “free of charge upon request.”
  • Air Quality: Air filter replacement and HVAC system cleaning are increased. This is a nonsmoking facility.
  • Hotel: Open
  • FanDuel Sportsbook: Open
  • Restaurants and Bars: Boyd’s Steakhouse, Options Buffet and Bourbon’s are temporarily closed. The Tin Lizard Bar & Grill has patio seating and takeout. Nelson’s Deli is offering carryout, too.
  • Protocols: As part of the “Boyd Clean,” program, all employees receive COVID-19 training. Employees will undergo daily health screening. Guest must socially distance. An on-site clean team is available to clean all surfaces and dispense hand sanitizer to guests.

Is Argosy Casino open?

No, Argosy Casino is open and operating under Tier 2 mitigations.

  • Location: Alton, Madison County, Region 4
  • Temporary Casino Hours: 9 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
  • Limited Capacity: 25%
  • Air Quality: Nonsmoking facility
  • Required PPE: Employees must wear a mask and undergo daily health screenings. Guests must wear face masks when not eating or drinking.
  • Sportsbook at Argosy: Open
  • Restaurants and Bars: Hops House is open from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. for to-go orders only. Captain’s Table Buffet and the VIP Lounge are temporarily closed.
  • Protocols: “Safe Bet Initiative” includes sanitizer stations, social distancing guidelines and regularly sanitized game machines. There is no valet service at this time.

Is DraftKings at Casino Queen open?

No, DraftKings at Casino Queen is open and operations under Tier 2 mitigations.

  • Location: East St. Louis, St. Clair County, Region 4
  • Temporary Casino Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
  • Limited Capacity: 25%
  • Air Quality: Nonsmoking facility that hosts a “rigorously maintained” HVAC system.
  • Required PPE: Employees and guests must wear face masks. Employees also must wear gloves when necessary.
  • Hotel: Open with limited amenities.
  • DraftKings Sportsbook: Open
  • Restaurants and Bars: Deli & Chips is carryout-only from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. The following restaurants are temporarily closed: SEVENS, Market Street Buffet, Prime Steakhouse. Also, the VIP Lounge is closed.
  • Protocols: The “Queen Clean” protocols include sanitizer stations, floor signage, social distancing, fogging equipment and regular sanitation of “high-touch” surfaces. Employees must undergo COVID-19 safety training. Valet isn’t available at this time.

Is Harrah’s Metropolis open?

Yes, Harrah’s Metropolis Casino is open and operating under Phase 4 mitigations..

  • Location: Metropolis, Massac County, Region 5
  • Temporary Casino Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
  • Limited Capacity: 50%
  • Required PPE: All employees and guests must wear a face mask.
  • Air Quality: Unknown
  • Hotel: Open with limited amenities.
  • Restaurants and Bars: Bridges Dining Company is open daily for carryout only. Fresh Country Kitchen is temporarily closed. Harrah’s Signature Bar, Center Bar and Laurel Lounge are temporarily closed. There isn’t any beverage service on the casino floor.
  • Poker Room: Temporarily closed.
  • Protocols: Using Caesars‘ safety procedures, social distancing is required. Hand sanitizer stations are throughout the casino-resort. Employees have undergone proper COVID-19 training.

Is Harrah’s Joliet open?

Yes, Harrah’s Joliet Casino is open and operating under Phase 4 mitigations.

  • Location: Joliet, Will County, Region 7
  • Temporary Casino Hours: 24/7
  • Limited Capacity: 50%
  • Required PPE: All employees and guests must wear a mask.
  • Air Quality: Unknown
  • Hotel: Open with limited amenities.
  • Poker Room: Permanently closed.
  • Restaurants and Bars: Reserve Steakhouse is available for takeout on Fridays and Saturdays from 5-9 p.m. Cross Street Grill is open. Beverage service on the casino floor is permitted, except at table games.
  • Protocols: Using Caesars‘ safety procedures, social distancing is required. Hand sanitizer stations are throughout the casino-resort. Employees have undergone proper COVID-19 training.

Is Hollywood Joliet open?

Yes, Hollywood Casino & Hotel Joliet is open and operating under Phase 4 mitigations.

  • Location: Joliet, Will County, Region 7
  • Temporary Casino Hours: 8 a.m.-4 a.m. daily
  • Limited Capacity: 50%
  • Required PPE: All employees and guests must wear a mask.
  • Air Quality: Unknown
  • Hotel: Open with limited amenities.
  • Sportsbook at Hollywood: Open
  • Restaurants and Bars: Take Two Deli, Final Cut Steakhouse, Epic Buffet and VIP Lounge will be opening soon. The 99 Hops House is available for to-go orders. There isn’t any bar service.
  • Protocols: In a statement from the general manager, signage on the floor encourages social distancing. Employees undergo daily health screenings. Sanitizer stations are throughout the facility.

Is Grand Victoria Casino open?

Yes, Grand Victoria Casino is open and operating under Phase 4 mitigations.

  • Location: Elgin, Kane County, Region 8
  • Temporary Casino Hours: 24/7
  • Limited Capacity: 50%
  • Required PPE: All employees and guests must wear a mask “that covers their nose and mouth.” Complimentary masks are available.
  • Air Quality: Unknown
  • William Hill Sportsbook: Open
  • Restaurants and Bars: Crave Deli is open for carryout daily. Buckinghams Steakhouse and Indulge Show Kitchen Buffet are open.
  • Poker Room: Temporarily closed.
    Protocols: The safety plan includes social distancing, hand sanitizer stations and frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces.

Is Hollywood Aurora open?

Yes, Hollywood Casino in Aurora is open and operating under Phase 4 mitigations.

  • Location: Aurora, Kane County, Region 8
  • Temporary Casino Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 a.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays
  • Limited Capacity: 50%
  • Required PPE: All employees and guests must wear a mask.
  • Air Quality: Unknown
  • Hotel: Open with limited amenities.
  • Hollywood Sportsbook: Open
  • Restaurants and Bars: Take 2 is available for to-go orders. There isn’t any bar service and food can’t be consumed on the gaming floor.
  • Protocols: In a statement from the general manager, signage on the floor encourages social distancing. Employees undergo daily health screenings. Sanitizer stations are throughout the facility.

Is Rivers Casino open?

Yes, Rivers Casino is open and operating under Phase 4 mitigations.

  • Location: Des Plaines, Cook County, Region 10
  • Temporary Casino Hours: 8 a.m.-11 p.m. daily
  • Limited Capacity: 50%
  • Required PPE: All guests must wear face masks unless eating or drinking.
  • Air Quality: Rivers operates a state-of-the-art air filtration system. It is a nonsmoking facility.
  • BetRivers Sportsbook: Open
  • Restaurants and Bars: There isn’t any beverage service on the casino floor. Hugo’s Frog Bar & Chop House is offering heated patio dining and carryout only. The Marketplace, Flipt and Mian’s are available for takeout. Lotus and Coffee Spot are temporarily closed.
  • Protocols: Following the “Rivers Clean” initiative, the staff keeps high-touch areas sanitized. Social distancing is necessary. Valet service or scooter rentals aren’t available at this time.

 

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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for NCAA.com since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, FoxSports.com and NBA.com. Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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