Slot machines. (Daria Sannikova, Pexels.com)
Every casino in British Columbia is shutting its doors in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.
The British Columbia Lottery Corporation says the “orderly shutdown” of all casinos, community gaming centres and bingo halls across the province is underway.
They will all be closed as of 11:59 p.m. tonight.
The temporary closure of all gaming facilities follows the directive issued by Attorney General David Eby and announced today by Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry.
BCLC conducts and manages lottery, casino, bingo and online gambling, province-wide.
In B.C., private sector service providers operate gambling facilities under contract with BCLC.
With closure believed to be imminent, the industry came to a consensus yesterday, that casinos should suspend operations.
BCLC then began working with service providers to plan an orderly shut down.
“BCLC put the health of players, employees and communities at the forefront and took measures over the last number of days, informed by ongoing recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer,” the corporation said.
Most recently, the industry had been phasing in a reduction of service, creating greater social distance in the casinos by turning off every second slot machine, removing seats at table games, and stopping all casino marketing.
The casinos will re-open only once BCLC receives government direction that it’s safe and appropriate to do.