Last week was a small step towards returning to normal for gambling in PA when Rivers Casino Pittsburgh, The Meadows and Lady Luck Nemacolin reopened their doors.
The Rivers Casino Pittsburgh was the first to open their doors early on Tuesday, which was then followed by The Meadows opening later in the day. Lady Luck Nemacolin concluded the week with a reopening on Friday. Casinos reported strong business on their opening day, with the Rivers Casino saying they saw volume 2.5 times their normal Tuesday traffic.
Individual casinos can reopen once their home county enters a “green” phase status level. Casinos and the state is hoping to reopen soon to minimize the impact of losing more revenues from an industry that generates $1.5 billion in annual tax receipts.
Things are different
Of course, even with gamblers and casinos getting a taste of normalcy, things are still far from it with casinos following comprehensive guidelines to keep customers safe.
Guidelines posted by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board require a variety of steps to be taken by casinos including keeping at casinos at 50% of capacity, which has led to empty chairs and disabled slot machines to ensure compliance. Hand sanitizing stations are available while markings are placed on the floor to encourage social distancing. Customers are also asked to wear masks unless they have certain medical conditions.
Poker rooms will also be closed for the foreseeable future.
Although casinos will not necessarily be opening right away in other locations, six of Pennsylvania’s race tracks will restart racing without fans in the stands. The first races begin on Monday with thoroughbred races scheduled for next Friday.
Meanwhile, the timetable for Pennsylvania’s remaining casinos will depend on the level of COVID-19 outbreak recorded on a county level. A director for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board was optimistic at the latest PGCB meeting saying he excepts most, if not all, PA casinos to be in the green phase “in the weeks to come.”
If this week’s crowds are any indication, players and casinos will be counting down the days.