Commercial and tribal casinos continue to reopen across the US

Commercial and tribal casinos across the US are continuing to reopen as state’s ease their lockdown measures.

Commercial and tribal casino venues across the US are continuing to open after temporarily closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the American Gaming Association (AGA), around 100 of the 989 casinos in the country have reopened.

Several states across the US have eased their lockdown restrictions and are now permitting casinos to reopen, provided they implement measures to help prevent the spread of the virus. These measures include placing limits on occupancy, enforcing social distancing and cleaning processes.

Penn National reopens some venues

Penn National Gaming (PNG), has already reopened five of its casinos in Louisiana after Governor John Bel Edwards lifted restrictions allowing casinos in the state to reopen.

PNG has reopened Boomtown Casino Bossier City, Boomtown Casino New Orleans, Margaritaville Casino Bossier City, L’Auberge Casino Lake Charles, and L’Auberge Casino Baton Rouge in Louisiana. These venues are currently operating at a limited capacity in line with the state’s regulations.

Penn also announced that today (21 May) it will reopen another five casinos in Mississippi. These include Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg, 1st Jackpot Casino Tunica, Boomtown Casino Biloxi, Hollywood Casino Tunica and Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast. Much like Louisiana’s regulations, the Mississippi Gaming Commission requires venues to operate a reduced capacity.

Jay Snowden, President and Chief Executive Officer for Penn National. Said: “We are continuing to work closely with our regulators and state and local leaders to prepare for the eventual reopening of all of our properties nationwide, and I want to thank the team at Penn who has worked tirelessly over the last several weeks to prepare for this process.”

PNG also plans to reopen venues in other state’s as restrictions are lifted, including West Virginia which is set to ease restrictions on 5 June.

Churchill Downs reopens venues

Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) will also reopen venues in Mississippi today. These venues include Harlow’s Casino Resort & Spa and Riverwalk Casino Hotel.

CDI said that both of its venues would implement and use its new “CDI 360 Degree Approach to Safety.” This will include initiatives that allow for social distancing, rigorous cleaning and personal protection of employees and patrons.

CDI will enforce several protocols including more frequent cleaning and sanitizing of high-touch surfaces, mandatory temperature checks for all guests and staff, and the installation of plexiglass barriers in areas where high touch transactions take place.

Last week, CDI reopened 12 of its off-track betting venues in the state of Louisiana. In addition to reopening the 12 venues, spectator-free live horseracing resumed at Churchill Downs Racetrack in Kentucky.

Bill Carstanjen, CEO of CDI. “Our teams have worked diligently to develop and implement new health and safety protocols that meet and exceed the requirements of each jurisdiction to protect our guests, our team members and our communities.”

Tribal venues reopen

Several federally recognised gambling tribes have also resumed casino operations. The first wave of tribal casinos began reopening in early May.  These venues included:

  • Coeur d’Alene Casino in Idaho
  • The 7 Clans First Council Casino and the Tonkawa Casino in Oklahoma
  • Island Casino in Michigan

Since then, several other tribal operators have announced plans to reopen their casinos. Earlier this week, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe which operate casinos on reservations in Connecticut announced plans to begin a phased reopening of their venues on 1 June.

Phase one of reopening will see the Mashantucket Pequot tribe partially reopen the Foxwoods Resort Casino, while the Mohegan Tribe will reopen potions of the Mohegan Sun venue to the public.

Both tribes worked together to establish new safety protocols and operating procedures to ensure both staff and guests are protected when they reopen. Both properties will implement the use of protective equipment and social distancing measures.

Neither of the venues will reopen concert venues, poker rooms or buffets and restaurants will be open for take-out only.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation Chairman Rodney Butler said: “We’re proud to partner with the Mohegan Tribe to ensure we develop the most responsible plan for helping the state of Connecticut recover swiftly and safely from the crippling economic impact of this pandemic.”

Mohegan Tribe chairman James Gessner added: “The new guidelines, which were shared with state officials weeks ago, are based off recommendations from experts nationally and around the globe and have been implemented at several of our other resort destinations across the country – some of which are now open or will be later this month.”

Other venues reopening

Boyd Gaming is also set to reopen IP Casino Resort Spa and Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Louisiana today.

MGM Resorts International plans to reopen several Mississippi venues next week. The operator aims to reopen Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica on 25 May, with the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi to follow on 1 June. In the announcement, MGM said it will host an invitation-only weekend at each casino before they reopen to the public.

Caesars Entertainment has also outlined plans for a phased reopening of its casinos in New Jersey, Nevada and Iowa, but only when permitted by state governments and tribal regulators.

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