Casinos in Mississippi and Louisiana begin to reopen this week amid the coronavirus outbreak. We spoke with a representative of the Scarlett Pearl Casino and they notified us they will open at 8:00am Central Time and the DraftKings Sportbook will open at it’s normal time of 10:00am CEntral Time. Gamblers have driven hours just to get a few wagers in. Lines are long, but casino goers don’t mind the wait if they can get to an open slot machine. CDC guidelines are still in place with social distancing policies. Gamblers need to follow the rules and go through checkpoints to get into the casinos. Regardless, people are ready to get out and make a few wagers for first time since March. Casinos are only allowed to have 25 percent of their capacity in the building at once.
Being the first week back open for Mississippi and Louisiana casinos, there are strict guidelines the casino and their patrons needs to follow during the pandemic. First, everyone needs to get their temperature checked. Anyone who has a temperature over 100 degrees is denied access from entering. Lines to get in the casino are long, and the six feet social distancing rule is still applied when waiting in line.
Once someone is in, they will see the social distancing rules still apply. Slot machines are spaced out six feet apart. People will have to wait their turn in line if one isn’t available to help slow the spread of the virus.
Also, table games are limited as well. In a Louisiana casino, only one of the four craps tables is in use. Six people are only allowed to play due to social distancing rules. Table tops are wiped down every four hours. Cards are wiped down more frequently, and the dice is spray after every roll.
Things are very different right now for casinos, but getting people in the building will help them recover in the long term. Even if only a quarter of their capacity is allowed to be in.
Boyd Gaming announced its “Boyd Clean” policy to reopen seven casinos over the next few weeks. They announced that three casinos open on Wednesday, and two casinos in Mississippi. Two more are expected to reopen at later dates.
Louisiana and Mississippi were able to open was because of their states drop in coronavirus numbers. Both states are into the low hundreds for daily cases. Louisiana looks more promising as they have steadily declined from their March peak. Mississippi’s daily cases were 136 as of May 18.
How Other States Can Follow
Mississippi and Louisiana show promise for other states to follow suit in opening up their casinos. This is easier said than done given the Coronavirus, but is possible. There are a few things casinos will need to do.
One, listen to state governments on rules and regulations of opening. Right now, every state is in a different position fighting COVID-19. Places like Mississippi and Louisiana are able to open given their daily numbers where Atlantic City might have to wait. Daily cases and rate of spread if going to play a huge factor in opening.
Two, put in safety procedures to limit the potential spread in the casinos. Temperature checks are going to be a thing in the future. Every public place that is opening up seems to be having this done. They’re doing down in the Gulf states, and I’m sure everyone across the country will do it. If casinos check everyone’s temperatures at the door, then this is a big first step in opening.
Three, sanitize as frequently as possible. People are touching multiple surfaces and machines throughout a casino. Sanitizing everything every few hours will be important so if someone is infected, they don’t spread the virus throughout every surface. Louisiana casinos are wiping down the dice every throw. There wouldn’t be a surprise if other casinos throughout the country does the same.
This comes down to keeping casino employees and patrons safe. If the states don’t believe people will be safe when entering the casino or sportsbook, then they’ll stay closed. This is a state by state basis, but Louisiana and Mississippi show a lot of promise for other states to follow their moves.