All state casinos ordered to close for two weeks starting Monday

All of the state's 10 casinos will be forced to close their doors by Monday for a two-week period under order by the Illinois Gaming Board, officials announced Friday night.

That includes Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the state's most lucrative gambling house, which released an announcement of its own Friday night that it would begin its two-week suspension of operations starting Sunday.

The regulatory agency said it is continuously monitoring developments related to the coronavirus and will update casino operators and the public as frequently as possible.

"The public health of patrons, casino employees, IGB staff, and others is of paramount importance," officials from the gaming board said in a news release.

Earlier, Rivers officials said their decision to temporarily close was out of an abundance of caution and to promote the social distancing recommended by health officials, even though there have been no known cases of COVID-19 at the property.

"The health and well-being of our team members, guests and the Chicagoland community is our highest priority," said Dennis Culloton, a casino spokesman, in an emailed statement. "We are grateful for their continued support."

Culloton said the casino would continue normal payroll for employees during the 14 days the building is closed. He added that officials would continue to closely monitor the ever-changing information related to the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision comes less than a week after Rivers became the first casino in Illinois to take a legal sports bet. But after the Monday morning first ceremonial wager by Chicago Blackhawks legend Eddie Olczyk, the new BetRivers Sportsbook was relegated to taking bets on fewer and fewer sports, as major sports leagues canceled or postponed their games and the NCAA decided to scrap its popular March Madness tournament.

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