The gambling industry has been turned upside down with the advent of Covid 19, forcing many casinos, card venues, bingo halls and small gaming providers to close. The high risk of Covid 19 transmissions among players and the broader community at large, each US State has had mostly a light lock down approach. Of course, some US States have been hit harder than others and extra precautions have been implemented to contain the outbreak.
As the US begins to relax hard lock down measures, we are seeing some casinos beginning to reopen and accept players again. Some casinos remain closed with preparations underway to reopen. While some remain closed with the risk of transmission in the community not worth the risk to take.
In any event, as a player if you are planning to visit the casino, it is wise to contact them first to ensure that they are open.
If they are reopening, you will find that there are several changes to player etiquette. We outline them in the following paragraphs. Please note: every casino has the ability to set their own policy and guidelines, therefore some rules may not be applicable. Overall the majority of casinos have implemented the following:
- Signage and markings to guide players through new Entering and Exiting procedures.
- Removal of valet parking services
- Mandatory masks
- Santizer stations
- Dealer and employee plexiglass
- Slot machine spacing
- Limited seating at table games
- Removal of Dining options (or reduced)
Let’s talk through each of the above requirements.
🚸 Casino Parking, Signage and Markings
The first thing you will notice is the extra signage and markings. If you are driving to the casino, be aware of new parking requirements. At some casinos that parking spaces have been moved to allow for a more streamlined screen point at the walk in entrance. It may be that you will need to walk a further distance than what was previously required. Markings on the ground should be available to guide you to the entrance. If an elevator is needed, the capacity is usually limited to apply social distancing measures. Of course, this can lengthen significantly the time required to simply enter the casino.
⚠️ Follow the signage and markings. Anticipate that there will be delays and be patient.
🅿️ Ceasing Valet Parking Services
Following with the parking theme, most casinos have ceased their valet parking services. This is understandable, since the protection of employee health and safety is also important. The Covid 19 virus is easily transmissible, hence being in an enclosed environment such as a car is a high risk to valet parkers.
⚠️ If you normally use valet parking services, be prepared to park your car yourself and to walk further to enter the casino.
Ⓜ️ Gambling requires Mandatory Masks
At the entrance of the casino you will now be asked to wear a mask. Each casino has their own guidelines as to the quality masking needed. Some will require N95 masks, some allow for home made single cloth masks. If you do not have a mask, or a mask that does not meet their requirements, they will give you a mask for free.
Now, not all casinos require masks to be worn. However, there aren’t many (if any) which permit players to be mask free.
😷 Be prepared to wear a mask when playing. If you do NOT wear a mask, you will not be allowed into the casino to play.
♻️ Before and After Gambling use Sanitizing Stations
Once you have entered the casino, you will notice that there are sanitizing stations throughout the venue. These stations will contain hand sanitizers and tissues to clean your hands. The casino not only wants players to be clean and disinfected, but they also deep clean the machines, equipment, chairs, tables etc. The casino needs to keep as clean and disinfected as much as possible the gaming venue, and therefore they provide to you sanitizing stations for you to frequently use.
Use the hand sanitizers frequently, and avoid touching your mouth or face with your hands.
🔲 Dealer Plexiglass Barriers
Plexiglass barriers have now been installed to partition dealers, pit managers and players. The plexiglass acts as a barrier to mitigate Covid 19 transmissions. The placement of the plexiglass does make talking and hearing a little more difficult. You may need to talk louder in order to be heard. Plus, with face masks being worn, talking can be muffled.
🗣 Be prepared to talk louder through plexiglass barriers. They also may appear and feel antisocial but they are necessary in protecting the health and safety of everyone in the venue.
🎰 Slot Machines Spacing
Slot machines are either spaced further apart, or intermittent machines have been marked as not allowed to be played on. To meet social distancing measures, casinos are spreading the floor and enforcing players to maintain distancing where possible. As a result, you may find that you will be unable to sit side by side with other players, in particular for slots.
Also, in many casinos, slot machines drink service has been stopped. Again, this is to prevent as much interaction between players and staff as much as possible.
⚠️ Sitting side by side with other players when playing slots is no longer allowed at many casinos.
♠️ Table Games Limited Seating
Together with slots, table games now have reduced seating. No longer immediately side by side, players are required to be more spaced out. Again, this is to meet social distancing measures and to mitigate transmissions.
⚠️ Table seating may be limited and therefore you may need to wait to obtain a seat.
No More Dining at the Casino
Buffets are now the thing of the past. Consider germ pits buffet dining at many casinos are no longer an option. In fact, many casinos have removed in house dining options. Fine dining that requires seating have mostly disappeared, but some fast food outlets continue to operate.
⚠️ If you are considering having a meal at the casino, first contact them to ensure that they are open.
- Be aware of the many changes now being imposed upon players. Not all casinos are implementing the same requirements, so if in doubt, contact the casino.
- Having said that, most casinos are implementing the mandatory wearing of masks. If you do not want to wear a mask, you will not be allowed into the casino.
- Many casinos are also implementing social distancing measures. This results in limited capacity among slots and tables, and reduce dining options.
- Prevention measures to mitigate transmission includes plexiglass, removal of valet service and at slot machine and table player services such as drinks and snacks.
Be safe and understand that these new measures are necessary in protecting employees, staff, and fellow Players.