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Gambling in Nevada will come to a halt Wednesday after Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered a statewide shutdown of all casinos and nonessential businesses on Tuesday.
All slot machines were turned off at midnight local time Tuesday, with the remainder of casino operations - including sportsbooks - following suit the next day.
"I know this directive will cause many of our friends and neighbors to distress, but I ask you: What are you willing to do to save your own life and the lives of those you love?" Sisolak said, according to John Sadler of the Las Vegas Sun. "We absolutely must take this step for every Nevadan's health and safety. Please take this seriously. Lives are at stake, and with each passing day, this pandemic is growing. Please, stay home for Nevada."
The governor's sweeping order will completely shutter Nevada's main industry for a minimum of 30 days. It includes everything from the strip's glitzy resorts to convenience store slot machines, as well as nonessential businesses such as bars and gyms. Restaurants will close their dining areas and offer take-out services only.
Some casinos had already closed their doors prior to the mandatory shutdown, with the coronavirus outbreak dealing a severe financial hit to the industry. The announcement of the shutdown came one day after casino owners asked Congress for emergency financial aid.
It's the first time all Nevada casinos have been ordered to close, Michael Green, a history professor at the University of Nevada, told Michelle L. Price and Scott Sonner of The Associated Press. Las Vegas casinos last closed for John F. Kennedy's funeral on Nov. 25, 1963, note Price and Sonner.
"It has become clear that we must take this extreme action to help contain the virus and protect the safety and well-being of our team members and guests," Caesars Entertainment CEO Tony Rodio said in a statement following Sisolak's announcement.
Sportsbooks are asking bettors with outstanding race and sports tickets to mail them in for processing.