Operations at the four state-owned casinos in Kansas have been suspended until at least March 30.


The decision, announced Tuesday by the Kansas Lottery, follows Gov. Laura Kelly's executive order Monday immediately banning gatherings of 50 or more people amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The affected casinos include Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kan.; Kansas Crossing in Pittsburg; Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane; and Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City.


According to a news release, the suspension of operations is the result of consultation with the Kansas Governor's Office and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations in response to the coronavirus outbreak.


"The health and safety of casino guests and employees is of the utmost importance," the release read. "The Lottery understands the impact this decision will have on both players and employees, but the State must be dedicated to doing its part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Kansas communities."


A representative for Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway declined comment when contacted by The Topeka Capital-Journal.


At least two area tribal casinos followed the governor’s lead.


Golden Eagle Casino, located in Horton, announced it had temporarily shut down its own operations following a Declaration of Emergency by the Kickapoo Tribe. All non-essential tribal employees have been granted administrative leave to self-quarantine, according to a news release.


Like its state-operated counterparts, Golden Eagle Casino will remain closed until at least March 30.


"These are very difficult decisions, but every minute counts and strong measures are necessary to slow the spread of the disease," said tribal chairman Lester Randall. "I know there will be significant economic impacts to the Kickapoo Tribe and all of our communities, and we are looking into steps to help address those challenges."


Under the direction of the Potawatomi Tribal Council, Prairie Band Casino & Resort in Mayetta also suspended its operations until March 30. According to a news release, the casino will continue to pay wages and benefits for full- and part-time employees, and guests with hotel reservations during this time frame will receive full refunds.


"We have determined we must act to ensure the safety of our guests and team members," Prairie Band Casino & Resort said in its release.


Another area tribal casino, Sac and Fox Casino in Powhattan, remained open Tuesday night, and multiple attempts to reach its general manager for comment were unsuccessful.


"Tribal casinos are not under the state's jurisdiction," said Stephen Durrell, executive director of the Kansas Lottery, "but we do urge them to think of the safety of their patrons and employees and follow the state's example and the governor's executive order about groups of 50."