Local casinos are shutting the slots for a little while.

Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, owned by Ak-Chin Indian Community, announced its closure starting at 4 a.m. March 19 and running through April 2. Earlier, Gila River Indian Community announced the closure of its three casinos – Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva – effective 4 a.m. March 18 and lasting two weeks.

“The Ak-Chin Indian Community and the management team of Harrah’s Ak-Chin have decided to temporarily close the casino and hotel to mitigate the potential for COVID-19 at our property,” said Robert Livingston, general manager.

Gila River Gaming Enterprises noted it may open soon if deemed appropriate, at which point it will notify its guests.

“As a gaming and hospitality leader in Arizona, we felt it was in everyone’s best interest to be proactive and close our hotels and casinos to do our part to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Kenneth Manuel, CEO of Gila River Hotels & Casinos. “We have been actively following the guidelines and best practices set forth from the CDC, WHO and the Arizona Department of Health Services. While there have been no reported cases of coronavirus at any Gila River Hotels & Casinos property as of today, this was an ethical decision to protect our team members and our guests.”

At Harrah’s Ak-Chin during the temporary closure, employees will continue to be paid and their benefits eligibility will not be interrupted for up to two weeks without needing to use any vacation or sick time.

“We had implemented ‘social distancing’ protocol and enhanced cleaning procedures this past weekend, but as one of the largest employers in Pinal County and to ensure the health and safety of our employees and guests, the Council and our local management team here felt this was our best option to continue to flatten the curve of this virus,” Livingston said.

Reservations during this temporary closure will be cancelled and guests will receive a full refund for any hotel deposit. Those with third-party reservations through travel agencies or other travel partners should reach out to the third party directly to cancel. Dining and spa reservations have also been cancelled.

The Events Center at Harrah’s Ak-Chin had already announced show postponements through the end of the month. Gary Allan, who was scheduled to appear on April 3 has been postponed as well.


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