It has been a grueling two months since casinos across the US were forced to kick out gamblers in order to stave off the spread of the coronavirus. Potentially losing millions of dollars in revenue each week the shutdown was prolonged, casino operators could only watch with anxious energy for some sign that things were returning to normal. As of this week, some casinos across the country have begun to open their doors once again, inviting gamblers back with the smell of casino chips and the melodies of the slot machines. While more casinos have started to follow the lead set by casinos in Oklahoma and elsewhere, others aren’t yet ready to take the leap.
Casinos in South Dakota and Oklahoma have been among the first to begin welcoming patrons once again, albeit with a lot of restrictions in place. Visitors will find reduced capacities at all venues and will need to adhere to social distancing policies that have been implemented to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. With these operations back in business, the Golden Nugget Lake Charles in Louisiana expects to be the first in the state to open its casino floor next Monday. The gambling activity will begin following the successful reintroduction of the venue’s hotel, restaurants and other amenities, scheduled to take place this Friday. Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta explains in a statement, “We have anxiously awaited this reopening and look forward to welcoming the Lake Charles and surrounding communities back to our hotel and casino. This is a step in the right direction to getting our employees back to work.”
In Washington State, the Angel of the Winds Casino Resort began welcoming visitors yesterday, becoming the first casino in the state to reopen. It has been closed since late March, and is implementing some unique policies to ensure it does its part to operate in accordance with state policies. All guests will need to carry a cell phone when they arrive as the casino is operating on a waiting-list system. Only one entrance is open, accessible through the parking lot with both the valet and parking garage closed, and guests have to check in upon arrival. They will be given a list of procedures they must follow and will then return to their vehicles. When it’s their turn to enter the casino, they’ll receive a text message on their cell phone to let them know.
Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with the relaunch plans. Ameristar Casino in Missouri would have been more than happy to get back to business this weekend, but its hands are being tied by bureaucracy. The state’s gaming commission has decided that gambling isn’t yet a priority, and will keep all casinos closed through the end of the month. That is certain to make the casino’s owner, Boyd Gaming, a little uneasy, as it has already stated that it took a huge hit in the first quarter of the year.