Gulf Coast Casinos Close Ahead of Hurricane Ida
As Hurricane Ida hits over the weekend, casinos located on the Gulf Coast are shutting down in preparation.
Players who wanted to wager on sports games this past weekend on the Gulf Coast were out of luck. The region is right in the path of Hurricane Ida and to keep employees and guests safe, venues shut down before the storm touched land. The Mississippi Gaming Commission has been busy tracking the hurricane to make the appropriate decisions before landfall. Many operators decided to close ahead of an official announcement to play it safe.
Details on the Shutdowns
Many casinos decided to shut down early, giving employees plenty of time to get home and prepare as well as for travelers to head home or find shelter from the storm. The Beau Rivage Resort & Casino located in the Biloxi area shut down the casino floor at 2 am on Saturday. Guests had until noon to check out of the hotel. The Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi decided to close at noon on Saturday, along with Boomtown and IP Casino.
The Treasure Bay Casino decided to delay closing a little bit longer than its competitors, shutting the doors at 4pm. The Silver Slipper Casino waited until 6pm, but that gave the venue plenty of time to evacuate its RV park and hotel as well as casino.
Some casinos on the Gulf Coast are at a higher risk than others due to the location. The Palace Casino in Biloxi is at risk of flooding due to the potential storm surge. This venue closed on Saturday to avoid anyone becoming stuck in the parking lot or the roads nearby due to flooding.
Most of the casinos are hopeful that they will be back in operation by Tuesday. Of course, this will depend on how the hurricane affects the facilities. It is expected that the storm will have a significant impact on the area.
Impacted by Weather and COVID
Hurricane Ida is the second hurricane that has impacted the casinos located on the coast this year. Back in June, the area was affected by Tropical Storm Claudette. It was heading towards the gulf coast of Mississippi and ended up bringing heavy rain and winds to the area.
The state did not see the brunt of the storm, so damage was minimal. This might not be the case this time. Tropical weather often closes casinos due to threat of high winds as well as potential flooding leading to hazardous road conditions.
Certain casinos may be hit harder by Ida due to the location on the beach. The IP Casino and Scarlet Pearl was in particular danger of being affected. The casinos are impacted by the potential damage to the facilities as well as revenue losses due to closures.
The shutdown comes at a time when the casinos are trying to get back on solid footing amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Casinos were shut down for a portion of 2020 and then offered limited operations the remainder of the year as well as the beginning of 2021.
The summer has been a good time for recovery, as patrons are getting out more and going on vacations or weekend trips to the gulf. This brings in big business and helps to create higher revenues, especially when compared to last year.
For venues that are remaining open during the storm and preparing for the impact, precautions are being taken to ensure that everyone is safe and protected, not only from the storm but from the virus as well. Safety precautions are in place for employees and guests.