US Casino Reopenings: Where It Stands Now

Today’s gambling environment looks very different in the United States than it did just a few months ago. In early 2020, casinos were busy, with players arriving in large numbers to play table games, slots and enjoy entertaining and dining. Then, the coronavirus hit. Once the virus took hold, businesses across the nation shut down, including casinos. Since mid-March, casino gaming has been nonexistent in land-based form. Over the past few days, casinos in several states have started to get back to work. Below we look at the US casino reopenings and how the numbers stand today.

Getting Back to Normal

The gambling industry of the US is trying to get back to normal. As more larger gambling markets start operations once again, there will be some form of normalcy. Nevada casinos reopened on June 4, which is a larger market in the nation. Over the weekend, casinos in Alabama and Rhode Island were back in business with Pennsylvania casinos reopening this week.

Right now, based on numbers from the American Gaming Association, of the almost 1,000 casinos in the US, there are 569 that are open. Just over 400 remain closed. Two casinos have actually shut down permanently. Of the states that offer casino gaming, 28 have reopened at least one venue. A total of 12 states remain closed when it comes to casinos.

Casinos reopening in Las Vegas were one of the largest reopenings when considering the number of casinos getting back to work. The Nevada Gaming Control Board released rules for casinos to reopen in May and the Gaming Commission approved the rules. Casinos then began creating their own protocols to reopen as the coronavirus remains a major issue across the nation.

Casinos in Las Vegas as well as those in other states are working to ensure a safe and healthy environment for guests and employees. Unions, including those in Nevada, have worked with operators to ensure that employees know what to expect and can feel comfortable working again as the virus remains a concern.

 A New Normal

While casinos are opening back up, players can expect many changes on-site. A new normal has been created among land-based casinos. Venues are limited as to how many players can be allowed into a casino at one time. In some states, casinos can allow up to 50% capacity. In other regions, like Detroit, Michigan, the casinos can only allow 15% capacity.

The number of guests allowed is based on how the region was affected by the virus. In Michigan, the state was heavily affected by the outbreak. This is why the capacity is much lower than Nevada, which was not as heavily affected.

Along with capacity concerns, the casinos also have stronger cleaning protocols in place. Sanitizing and deep cleaning is important due to the way the virus spreads. It is highly contagious, so properties must clean effectively to remove the virus that might linger on slot machines, ATMs and other areas.

Over the next few weeks, we should see additional casinos reopen in the US. It will take a few weeks longer to see how the venues are affected by the coronavirus. Will the measures in place be enough to keep employees and guests safe?

Many properties are using temperature scans to stop people with a fever from entering and testing employees to avoid any contamination. We shall see if these steps are enough to slow the spread and allow the economy to start the recovery process or if the US will be back where it started, forced to shut down due to the spread of COVID-19.

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Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.