Talks Of Reopening Missouri Casinos And Virginia Racetracks In The Coming Weeks

Posted on May 12, 2020

Tennessee residents who have been awaiting the reopening of regional casinos, your wait isn’t over yet. Gaming facilities in states like Missouri and North Carolina still don’t have definite dates.

The same goes for Virginia’s motorsports tracks. There is some positive news about these facilities, however. It looks like they will reopen eventually.

Latest Missouri casino reopening timeline

The earliest Missouri casinos could open is Friday. Some jurisdictions in the state might keep facilities within their borders closed for longer as well.

Chairman of the Missouri Gaming Commission, Mike Leara, said the state would do all it can to execute a uniform reopening across the state. That will take coordination between local authorities.

The concern for the commission is that certain casinos in the state might get a leg up on the competition by getting back to the market earlier than others. Even if casinos do reopen, they may still face restrictions like limits on capacity and restructured gaming floors.

The initial projection calls for entering the third phase six to nine weeks after the implementation of the first phase. That would put reopening in early July.

Potential opening dates for Virginia’s racetracks

Although there may eventually be casinos in VA, the prominent venues in the state right now are motorsports tracks. Martinsville Speedway and Richmond Raceway are empty for now but that could change.

NASCAR plans to restart races without spectators physically in attendance on Sunday. The seven-race slate, which will run through May 27, will all take place at either Darlington Raceway or Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The two Carolina tracks will not only be closed to spectators but will see other alterations like social distancing protocols and testing standards for participants. In VA, there is positive momentum toward doing the same.

VA Gov. Ralph Northam could allow his stay-at-home order to expire on Thursday. At that time, venues like churches, gyms, hair salons, and restaurants could reopen with restrictions.

That initial phase won’t allow for racetrack activity, for the most part, however. A ban on gatherings of 10 or more people will remain in place and just one race team at one of the tracks would surpass that number.

However, if this first relaxation of restrictions goes well, that would lead to even further loosening. By the time NASCAR is ready to schedule its next slate of empty-venue races, VA could be in a position to accommodate that.

While facilities like casinos and racetracks remain closed across the country, for the most part, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The coming weeks could see positive change.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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