DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – The Illinois Gaming Board ordered the shutdown of video gaming operations in the state Monday because of the spread of COVID-19.

The closure will impact hundreds of employees who work in the more than 250 operations across central Illinois.

“It is panic city now, everywhere,” Richard Koslofski with Diamonds Slot and Video Gaming in Decatur said.

The state’s gaming board ordered all operations to end at 9 p.m. Monday.

“It is going to hurt somebody,” Koslofski said.

The Illinois Gaming Board reports there are a total of 248 establishments in the communities of Mattoon, Champaign, Danville, Decatur and Springfield with a combined total of 1,691 machines throughout the five towns. Employees at the stores are worried the closures will hit their wallets.

“If this goes on for an extended period of time, is the governor going to help us out? Are we going to be able to apply for unemployment? These are unanswered questions,” Koslofski said.

Revenue from video gaming in the five communities brought in $805,263.29 in February 2020. Decatur saw $145,178.46 of that.

“It is going to hurt,” Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe said.

Moore Wolfe said the city is somewhat prepared for the hit the closures will cause. The city has about 45 days’ worth of money set aside for situations like the coronavirus outbreak. The mayor said the bigger concern should be if the small businesses are forced to shut down.  

“Some businesses may not make it, but when we come out of this, I think people will be ready to be at bars, restaurants and shopping and everything that they have been isolated from doing,” Moore Wolfe said.

Gaming operations are shut down through the end of the month. The gaming board will be re-evaluated closer to the end of the month.