It’s beyond doubt how the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has changed how virtually everything is done in the world. The world of gambling is also affected, as visits may be considered suicidal in light of the global concerns around the virus. Hence, the ability to make some decisions regarding one’s casino adventure, is for once, beyond one’s control. As a matter of fact, all decisions in this regard are subject to what realities have been brought about by the pandemic.
In this light, casinos, bingo halls, poker rooms, and betting outlets have been forced to shut down in a move to shorten further escalation of the virus. In this article, we look at what the future holds for gambling venues and spots, starting with popular American casinos accepting UK players – the second-largest casino market in the world.
Casinos in the USA
Some resorts in key gambling centres across the United States have started reopening, after a daunting period of lockdown. Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel, which is run by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of Northern Idaho, was the first casino to reopen in the US. At the casino’s general entrance, temperature checks were carried out on patrons, who stood a minimum of 6 feet away from one another.
While players won’t sit close to each other, there were multiple monitors which had videos teaching people how to eat, drink or smoke in the casino appropriately. It has also become very compulsory for casino players and employees to have their masks on while at the casino. Without it, the casino may be forced to restrict the employee or player from working or playing on its premises, respectively.
Observing the toughness of the new measures, CEO of Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel, Laura Stensgar opined “It’s been really challenging because we’re known for being friendly and socializing”. “But we knew that to open our doors we had to establish strict, new protocols and provide that safe environment with social distancing for our customers and employees.” She noted.
Although the casino has reopened, some parts of the property are yet to open, including buffets, spa, and some betting rooms. The casino resort used to be run on a 24-hour basis but is now closed from 3 am to 7 am every day. The closed period is to enable the casino officials to properly clean, sanitize, and disinfect the casino premises and to take note of deficiencies that may arise.
Players at gambling venues can only speak to the cashier through transparent glasses that have been installed by the authorities. For the restaurants and lounges in the casino property, limited capacity of 25% is allowed and cannot be exceeded at a time. For now, the casino has also stopped offering table games as part of its phased reopening measures.
Consequent upon the reopening protocols, Nizhoni Hodge, the Manager in charge of Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort’s guest service program, has been tasked with teaching employees how to ensure compliance. She observed that “it’s been a culture shock for a lot of people”, maintaining that safety protocols would be better achieved with strict supervision. All through the casino, she is seen on several screens, explaining the concept of wearing a mask, and observing social distancing appropriately.
It is noteworthy that before the pandemic broke out, wearing items that obstruct the full view of a player’s facial identity was prohibited. This was in line with standard casino integrity practice across the US and some other countries. In effect, wearing masks is as much beneficial to players as it is to casinos, because of the safety it presents at least.
Reopening casinos was not such a smooth ride for Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel, but was necessary to keep up with payments of employees’ salaries. Hence, observation of laid down guidelines for casino business operation would go a long way in ensuring the safety of players. It serves to state that, as much as you need casinos to reopen as much as possible, your effort is also required to keep them running as efficiently as possible.