All Nevada casinos will remain closed until at least April 30, according to the state’s Governor, Steve Sisolak. The Silver State’s Democratic leader made the announcement, updating his previous order which would have kept casinos shut down for 30 days starting March 18.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Las Vegas, a city that prides itself on its 24/7 accessibility, is taking an unprecedented time-out. The live poker scene in Sin City, and all around the country, is also in hibernation.
Statewide, the COVID-19 scare has forced all Nevada casinos to close down. In cities like Las Vegas and Reno, gambling fuels the local economy. But that hasn’t stopped the governor from ensuring the safety of his residents during this global health crisis.
Flattening the Curve
Thus far, the Silver State has just 1,280 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the Worldometer database. That represents just a fraction of the entire country, which surpassed 200,000 cases on Wednesday. But many experts anticipate Nevada cases to peak within two to three weeks. And that is the likely reason Governor Sisolak has already extended the closure requirements for all Nevada casinos.
Sisolak’s goal, as he wrote on Twitter, is to “flatten the curve.” By that, he wants Nevadans to take precautionary measures such as staying at home and social distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Given that the highly contagious virus is already infecting Nevadans, the goal is to minimize the damage.
We have taken a number of critical and unprecedented steps since the Emergency Declaration as part of our #StayHomeForNevada effort to help flatten the curve. This directive builds on those efforts & ensures everyone fully understands our statewide goal: STAY HOME for our State.
— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) April 1, 2020
All businesses that are considered non-essential, including casinos, retail shops, and shopping malls, are ordered to remain closed.
What this Means for Poker and the WSOP
Sisalak’s new order keeping casinos closed through at least until April 30 puts the WSOP in a bit of a predicament, and ensures the live poker scene will be on hiatus for longer than originally expected.
Seth Palansky, the WSOP’s VP of Corporate Communications, recently said organizers still anticipate the 2020 WSOP will run as scheduled, beginning May 26 in Las Vegas. But due to the uncertainty with the coronavirus pandemic, he can’t make any promises.
In a recent interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Palansky said organizers won’t make a decision on the fate of the 2020 WSOP until May. Should the casinos remain closed into May, the WSOP likely won’t have any choice but to either cancel the series, condense the series, or reschedule it for later in the year.
Organizers for the WSOP remain tight-lipped, and won’t show their cards in regard to any alternative plans they may be considering. But the odds of the series running as planned are decreasing by the day.