Boyd Gaming Closes Pennsylvania Casino for Two Weeks, Blames COVID-19

Posted on: March 13, 2020, 01:15h. 

Last updated on: March 16, 2020, 11:38h.

Regional casino operator Boyd Gaming is closing its Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania as a result of a directive from state Gov. Tom Wolf (D).

Valley Forge Casino Pennsylvania coronavirus
Valley Forge Casino Resort is the first coronavirus gaming victim in Pennsylvania. (Image: Boyd Gaming)

On Thursday, Wolf mandated that all public schools, community centers, and entertainment venues in Montgomery County be closed for two weeks because of an increase in presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.

Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) spokesperson Richard McGarvey said the agency was informed by the governor’s administration that casinos fall within the entertainment category.

“The safety and well-being of our team members and customers is our utmost priority. 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,” Boyd said in a statement.

Valley Forge closed at 6 a.m. ET Friday. It’s to remain closed at least through Friday, March 27. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Boyd Gaming owns and operates 29 casinos in 10 states.

Nearby Casinos Open

Pennsylvania is home to 12 full-scale casinos. Five smaller satellite brick-and-mortar casinos are in the works.

Valley Forge is located in Montgomery County where 13 of the state’s 27 coronavirus cases have been confirmed. But just 17 miles south, Harrah’s Philadelphia – located in Delaware County – the slot machines remain spinning. Chester is home to only one coronavirus patient.

Also roughly 17 miles from Valley Forge is Rivers Casino in Philadelphia. The gaming venue in Philadelphia County remains open. Parx Casino in Bensalem (Bucks County) north of the City of Brotherly Love, is additionally open.

I strongly encourage the statewide suspension of large gatherings, events, conferences of 250 individuals or more, and discourage people from traveling to recreational activities such as gyms, movie theaters, and shopping malls,” Wolf added. “And while people are free to travel, I ask that everyone refrain from non-essential travel.”

The governor continued, “We all need to do our part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The time to do this is now. We cannot wait.” On Friday, Wolf said all K-12 public schools will be closed for two weeks.

Casino Closures

Valley Forge is the first casino in Pennsylvania to close as a result of the global pandemic, but not in the country.

In early March, the Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Oregon suspended operations after an employee tested COVID-19 positive. The Native American gaming property reopened just two days later after being recertified for occupancy by local, state, and tribal health officials.

Casinos across the county are taking steps to limit the spread of the deadly disease. In Las Vegas, Wynn and MGM Resorts properties both closed their day and nightclubs, as well as their buffets.

Hard Rock International has suspended all entertainment at its casinos. Owned by the Seminole Tribe in Florida, the casino giant has locations in its home state, as well as Atlantic City, Oklahoma, Iowa, Nevada, and Mississippi.

Hard Rock says live entertainment will be canceled for at least 30 days.