Governors are moving quickly to temporarily shut down casinos and parimutuel operations as well as close restaurants, bars and taverns since the CDC’s recommendation to avoid any gatherings of 10 people or more.
In Oregon, the lottery stopped the operation of all video lottery terminals on Tuesday, March 17. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown had implemented a statewide cancellation of all events and gatherings larger than 25 people, with “essential locations like workplaces, grocery stores, pharmacies, and retail stores exempted.”
Nationwide, there are 86,000+ VLTs operated in eight U.S. lottery jurisdictions. VLT net machine income totaled $6.9 billion in fiscal 2019, according to La Fleur’s 2020 World Lottery Almanac. States vary in the percentage of NMI that is retained as government profit.
In related news, casinos (both privately and state-regulated) are being ordered to close. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued an emergency order to close all Maryland casinos, racetracks, and simulcast betting facilities to the general public indefinitely due to the serious public health emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic. (The governor’s emergency order took effect at midnight on Monday, March 16, 2020.)
“This situation continues to evolve and will escalate rapidly and dramatically,” said Governor Hogan. “These are unprecedented actions in an extraordinary situation, but they could be the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe.” The Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency worked with casinos to facilitate an orderly shutdown of operations.
On March 18, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak in consultation with Gaming Control Board Chair Sandra Douglass-Morgan, shut down all gaming machines, devices, tables, games, and any equipment related to gaming activity to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus.