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Casinos shut down by COVID-19

Indiana's casinos are the first industry to be shut down statewide by coronavirus.


The Indiana Gaming Commission ordered casinos to close Monday morning, and stay closed for at least two weeks. Indiana casinos average 42-million dollars a week in revenue -- Casino Association president Matt Bell says they'll take a "significant hit" from the shutdown.


The shutdown will also take a direct bite out of the state budget. The state collected nearly 600-million dollars in wagering and admissions taxes last year. That averages to 23-million lost in a two-week shutdown.


Bell says "virtually every" casino has committed to keeping all employees on the payroll during the two-week shutdown. He says casinos will use that time to do a deep clean of their facilities.

One arm of the casino business is still operating -- sportsbooks are allowed to take bets online. The problem is, there aren't any sports being played. Bell notes the canceled N-C-A-A basketball tournament is the biggest sports betting event of the year. It's been canceled, while basketball, baseball, hockey and most soccer leagues are on hold.


Indiana allows betting on 89 events in 24 sports. The World Series of Bowling is still in progress in Las Vegas, and Mexico's Liga M-X soccer league and Australia's National Rugby League are still playing. But those sports make up a sliver of betting action. Last month, nearly half the 187-million dollars in Indiana sports bets was on basketball.


You can still place bets on the NBA, WNBA and NFL drafts. But some sportsbooks have halted betting on who will win the NBA championship. And even if the season resumes, some sportsbooks have rules requiring that the full season be played for bets on teams' win totals to be valid.