NFL Season Impossible? Top Stories, Sports and Business News — June 18

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From Dr. Fauci saying it’s “very hard to see” how football can be played this fall to an update on the coronavirus, here are the top stories shaping sports and business news on Thursday, June 18.

Dr. Fauci Says NFL Season May Not Happen

On Wednesday, Dr. Fauci spoke with the Los Angeles Times, saying he advised Major League Baseball not to play too deep into the fall, and many wondered what that would mean for both the NFL and College Football, especially considering that the majority of their seasons are played in the fall and winter months.

Well, today there’s an answer.

During an interview with CNN, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said “unless players are essentially in a bubble-insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day, it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall.” Dr. Fauci also added that if there is a second wave of the coronavirus, football may not happen this year.

In response to those comments, NFL’s Chief Medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said the league is "developing a comprehensive and rapid-result testing program and rigorous protocols that call for a shared responsibility from everyone inside our football ecosystem.” Dr. Sills also added the league “will be flexible and adaptable in this environment to adjust to the virus as needed.”

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the NFL Players Association is telling its members they could be tested every three days for COVID-19.

The NFL season is scheduled to kick off on September 10 with the defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans.

Watch more: Fauci Says 'Very Hard to See' Football Happening in Fall

A Coronavirus Update

There are over 8.3 million cases worldwide, with over 450,000 deaths. The U.S. has over 2.1 million cases with over 117,000 deaths. Brazil is nearing one million cases—it’s at 955,000 cases currently—with over 46,000 deaths.

States such as Texas, Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina all have case counts on the rise. Texas reported 2,622 new cases, and 1,476 prison inmates in Texas have also tested positive for the virus. Florida reported 2,610 new cases.

California set a new record of coronavirus cases, reporting 4,233 per the San Francisco Chronicle. This is the first time that California has surpassed 4,000 cases in a single day.

The Labor Department said 1,508,000 Americans filed jobless claims for the week ended June 13, down from a revised 1,566,000 claims for the week earlier, as states continue to reopen after more than two-and-a-half months of being shuttered during the coronavirus pandemic.

Continuing claims, which is the number of people not just filing but staying on unemployment benefits, were 20.544 million for the week ended May 30.

Watch more: Jobless Claims Show It's Back to Work Only for Some Americans

Illinois Opens a Legal Sportsbook

On Thursday, Illinois became the nineteenth state to open a legal sportsbook. Rivers Casino via BetRivers is the first legal sportsbook operator to go live in the Prairie State. 

BetRivers also launched its sportsbook in Colorado last month and has active mobile betting applications in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Seven casinos in Illinois were approved for a sports betting license including Grand Victoria which is owned by MGM, and Hollywood Casino, among others. No word yet on if DraftKings or FanDuel will be approved for operating licenses in Illinois.

Worth noting that the original Illinois sports betting law did not allow mobile betting, but an executive order by Governor J. B. Pritzker opened the door to temporarily allow Illinois residents to bet on sports from their computers or phones due to the pandemic.

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