Back to Work: Casinos Across USA Plans to Reopen as Lockdowns Begin to Lift

May 29, 2020 3 min read
by Thomas Wolf

MGM, Boyd Gaming, Cherokee Nation, Century Casinos, and Caesars are just a few of the big-name casino operators that have this week publicly revealed some of the measures they will be taking to reopen after their two-month closure due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Around 1,500 Americans are currently dying every day of the pneumonia-causing disease. However, the large and relatively dispersed population of many areas in the States means some areas are seeing very few infections.

Because states are responsible for their own policies to some degree, each one is leaving lockdown at a different pace—and some with wildly different rules.

casinos plan to reopen in usa

Testing Sin City

Las Vegas, for example, won’t be fully reopening until at least the beginning of June. Last week, lawmakers started easing the lockdown in Nevada, where nearly 400 people have died of COVID-19.

Non-essential businesses will gradually open up on a 14-day phased return, with casinos unlikely to come into the picture until later. Las Vegas Sands has pinned June 1st as the reopening date for its Venetian mega-hotel on the Vegas strip.

But things will be very different on the gaming floors.

MGM announced just some of its measures last week, which will echo those put in place in Macau back in March. They will include divided partitions between slot machines and blackjack players, a reduced number of guests (up to ¾ in the case of the Bellagio), and a whole army of cleaning staff working round-the-clock.

On top of all that, MGM, Caesars, and Boyd recently announced they were partnering up to regularly test all of their employees from May 21st until the end of the local epidemic in Vegas.

With the capacity to test up to 10,000 a day at the Vegas Convention Center, testing will be available for all employees, and results will be returned in 48 hours or less.

“This testing partnership will allow us to provide our employees and guests peace of mind that we are taking the greatest possible precautions to keep them safe,” said Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and President of MGM Resorts International.

A More Resilient Future

Other areas of the USA are already opening up their casinos, and some lawmakers have been battling loophole laws that have allowed “skill” games to continue operating in smaller venues throughout the pandemic.

Some casinos in Louisiana and Mississippi have already reopened, such as L’Auberge and The Golden Nugget in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Despite the extra precautions and safety measures, some gamblers reportedly drove over 140 miles from Texas and other states to get their first slice of casino floor action since the beginning of March. Others were seen queuing outside the casinos for their 9 am opening.

MGM and Boyd Gaming will also open some of its casinos in those states in a staggered reopening spread out over the next two weeks.

“Across the country, we are implementing comprehensive safety protocols approved by local, state, and federal health officials”

Keith Smith – CEO Boyd Gaming

Just some of the casinos set to reopen across the two southern states are:

  • Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel
  • Treasure Chest Casino, Kenner, LA
  • Gold Strike Casino in Tunica, MS
  • Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast, MS

“We look forward to revising, streamlining and implementing improved measures as we progress toward a more resilient future and returning our properties, amenities, and services to full operation”

Mark Fulton – Cherokee Nation Chief Operations Officer

Siuslaw Indians of Oregon Tribal Council have also decided to reopen their Three Rivers Casino and Resort in Oregon, and Cherokee Nation Entertainment promised to open up their many casinos soon.

Author

Thomas Wolf

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