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Illinois casinos to stay closed until further notice

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SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Gaming Board has decreed the state’s casinos will remain closed and its video gambling terminals will remain dark "until further notice” was the state fight to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, officials announced Thursday.

Gaming board administrator Marcus Fruchter says the agency will consult public health professionals and review conditions before video and casino gambling will be allowed to resume.

In Illinois, 52,918 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, and there have been 2,355 deaths.

Gambling in Illinois has been suspended since March 16. Fruchter announcement marks the third extension of the shutdown.

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Illinois Casino Gaming Association executive director Tom Swoik said casino operators are hopeful they’ll be able to restart operations June 1. He estimates the state’s 10 casinos have lost about $100 million during the six weeks they’ve been closed, putting more than 5,000 employees out of work.

"It’ll take several months to see people feeling comfortable to start coming back,” Swoik said. ``Everyone’s going to be very, very cautious.”

Swoik said the casino industry is considering new sanitation criteria in the wake of COVID-19, including sneeze guards between spaced-out slot machines, player limits at table games and prohibiting the touching of cards.

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