Casinos Across America Assisting in COVID-19 Pandemic Response

Posted on: March 18, 2020, 09:56h. 

Last updated on: March 18, 2020, 11:57h.

Casinos throughout the country are closed. But that isn’t stopping some of the gaming companies from assisting local communities in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

casinos coronavirus donation MGM Resorts
With its US casinos closed because of the coronavirus, MGM Resorts is donating food to local communities. (Image: MGM Springfield)

MGM Resorts stock continues to plummet, shares losing nearly 80 percent of their value over the last few weeks. But in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the company’s $960 million integrated resort has been forced to temporarily close, the casino is stepping up to assist those in need during the health crisis.

MGM Springfield donated 12,000 pounds of food to area food pantries. The donation is about 10,000 meals.

Our property is currently closed and we recognize there’s a need in the community and we wanted to help,” MGM Springfield spokesman Saverio Mancini told MassLive.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously March 14 to order the state’s three commercial casinos to suspend their operations for at least two weeks.

Food pantries can run low on supplies during the coronavirus outbreak. Annie Rennix, director of food services for the Open Pantry in Massachusetts, says it is not currently taking donations from residents and churches in order to limit contact among volunteers.

MGM National Harbor, MGM’s casino resort outside in DC, also donated to area food banks.

Casinos Step Up

Roughly three dozen states have shuttered casino operations in an effort to help stop the spread of the respiratory disease. And though that’s costing the gaming resorts billions of dollars in lost revenue, some are putting profits aside and working to support their localities.

Caesars Entertainment has closed all of its North American properties. But the company’s Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana, announced Tuesday that it is donating food to area schools.

“We’ve always been very active in the community and have always tried to do our part in the community,” Horseshoe PR exec Shelli Murphy said. “This is just one more way… We’re making lemonade out of lemons.”

Las Vegas is dark after Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) ordered a mandatory shutdown of all gaming operations for 30 days. MGM Resorts says it will donate food items to the Southern Nevada community.

Las Vegas Sands, owner of The Venetian and Palazzo, announced a $250,000 donation to Las Vegas nonprofits serving the community.

Tribal casinos have also provided food to area food banks, one being the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians. The owner of Harrah’s Southern California gave 8,000 pounds of produce and refrigerated items to the San Diego Food Bank.

Slowing COVID-19

The number of confirmed 2019 coronavirus cases passed the 200,000 mark on Wednesday, and the death toll has exceeded 8,000. There are more than 7,000 COVID-19 cases in the US, with New York and Oregon currently hardest hit, each of those states with at least 500 cases.

President Donald Trump is urging Congress to pass a $1 trillion rescue package to help the collapsing economy and send relief checks to Americans. The Treasury Department is calling on two $250 billion cash infusions, with checks issued to Americans depending on family size and income.