The reopening of casinos in Oklahoma has continued with all of Chickasaw Nation’s venues welcoming players through their doors again.
Casinos in the state had been closed since March due to COVID-19, but slowly resumed operations earlier this month.
In addition to Chickasaw Nation’s casinos, WinStar World Casino and Resort in Thackerville has also reopened.
Each venue, while allowed to take business again, will only operate at a fraction of its usual capacity for the time being.
Rigorous Health and Safety Measures
All 20 of Chickasaw Nation’s casinos will operate at 25% capacity until it’s determined that COVID-19 is no longer a serious threat. Employees will also have to submit a superficial health checkup each day, with visitors adhering to social distancing measures.
WinStar World Casino and Resort will also be at a fraction of its normal operating capabilities. Complimentary drink stations are off-the-table for now, as are valet services. Table games, off-track betting, bingo and poker are yet to resume. Some other facilities, such as the swimming pool, will also remain shut for the time being.
Although WinStar World Casino and Resort is not offering complimentary drinks right now, there will be free water and soda at bars.
“No masks, no service” will be added to the long-standing US casino guideline of refusing customers not wearing shoes or a shirt. The ‘wear a mask or go home’ mandate will apply both in and outside of Oklahoma.
Oklahoma Getting Back to a Degree of Normal
The Sooner State has reported 5,960 COVID-19 cases at the time of writing on May 28th, with 311 deaths.
State Governor Kevin Stitt started his three-stage reopening strategy on April 24th. Earlier this week, a number of venues – including gyms, places of worship, salons and dine-in facilities were allowed to reopen their doors.
When a selection of other casinos were allowed to reopen this month, it attracted keen players ready to wager again.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby spoke about the return to service for the tribe’s land-based outlets. These were as follows.
“Our leadership team has developed a comprehensive plan with numerous levels of protection to protect the health of our employees and patrons.
“We continue closely monitoring the data and consulting health professionals in an effort to maintain the most effective containment measures available and minimize any possibility of resurgence.”
Deadline Looming for Dispute Between Tribal Casinos and State Gov.
Chickasaw Nation is one of the tribal casinos locked in a spat with Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt over gaming compacts.
Stitt argued that the compacts did not automatically renew upon expiry on January 1st 2020. However, Chickasaw Nation and 11 other tribes disagreed and decided to sue him. Each compact was valid for 15 years upon being signed.
The state and tribes have been given until May 31st to sort their differences out.
Earlier this month, the Comanche Nation and Otoe-Missouria tribes were suspended by the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA). Both were deemed to have agreed new compacts with Stitt that were deemed unlawful. They included a number of forbidden gaming practices, such as sports betting.
The two tribes have been booted out of the association until at least the end of this calendar year. After that, they can apply to be accepted again as members. However, this will be determined by a vote.