The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) has outlined measures that will be introduced to all of the state’s casinos when they reopen.
Land-based venues in the state have been shut since mid-March to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Before customers can return, each operator will be obliged to meet the published minimum requirements.
The Keystone State joins the likes of Nevada and Louisiana to reveal how casinos will be allowed to safely return to business.
The rules that all casinos must follow
Wearing masks on casino premises will be mandatory for both guests and employees. Sanitizer stations will also be made available for everybody, with social distancing enforced through the use of floor markings.
Stricter cleaning will be obligatory for all venues, and staff will be provided with the necessary equipment to fulfill these needs. All public and back-of-the-house areas are to be cleaned on a regular basis.
Social distancing is also going to be applicable to specific game areas. Poker rooms will not be used until further notice. This is to reduce contact with chips and cards.
Slot machines will have plexiglass barriers between them, with chairs being taken away from some of them. Other seating areas will be disabled so that players remain the required distance of six feet apart from one another.
Crowds will be banned from gathering around table games, while contestants will not be sat directly next to each other. Each casino must also decide how they will clean gaming equipment, such as chips and dice, as often as possible.
Valet services are also suspended for the foreseeable future.
Have a plan in place or you’re not allowed to reopen your doors
All Pennsylvanian casinos must outline how they intend to adhere to these measures by contacting the PGCB. As of the time of writing (Friday May 22nd), no specific return date has been set.
The Gaming Control Board’s Executive Director Kevin O’Toole shared his thoughts on the new protocols, which were as follows.
“While these guidelines for casino operations will be subject to amendment as we move closer to a time of reopening, we believe this plan will be effective in mitigating and reducing the risk of exposure to Covid-19 for all employees, patrons, and other guests.
“We fully anticipate that we will work with the industry as it seeks to become, once again, an economic engine for Pennsylvania and to restore the first-rate entertainment facilities each of our licensees have developed.”
Sportsbooks in the state will be allowed to reopen, but must be able to promote both social distancing and high hygiene levels. This includes both frequent cleaning and making sanitising products readily available.
Online gaming revenue rises in the absence of land-based casinos and widespread sports
Pennsylvania recently released its April gaming results, in which various online verticals enjoyed growth. One of those was online slots and table games, with month-on-month revenue jumping by 77.5% to $43.1 million.
Online poker also rose by 67.7%, with $5.3 million being generated in this area. State Governor Tom Wolf is expected to continue the easing of lockdown restrictions today, with 12 counties having measures relaxed. 37 others entered the first phase of lockdown lifting last Friday.