Nevada Approves Plan-for Casino Reopening
The biggest news from the casino industry this week is that the Nevada Gaming Commission has okayed the plan for casino reopening in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All of the 441 casinos in Nevada have closed their doors to the public on March 18. Fast-forward two months, and they now seem very eager to get back in business.
However, their business is not going to go as usual. Casinos will have to follow the guidelines approved by the Gaming Commission to safeguard casino visitors and personnel.
Anti-COVID-19 Measures for US Casino Industry
Casinos in Nevada will have to undergo some significant changes before they’re ready to reopen. Probably the most drastic measure is the one regarding the casino capacity. According to the new plan, casinos will need to cut down the capacity by 50%.
The biggest worry ahead of the casino reopening is whether it’s possible to implement social distancing inside the venue. To tackle this problem, the Nevada Gaming Commission proposed the following measures:
- Blackjack tables to include no more than three people instead of six, which was the limit pre-lockdown.
- A maximum of four players sat at one roulette table.
- No more than six players per a craps table.
- Four players maximum at one poker table.
Not everyone thinks these measures are enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among gamblers. Jennifer Pearson from the University of Nevada in Reno believes that additional rules are necessary, including the one that would ban smoking.
She reasons that allowing the players to smoke indoor would increase the transition of the virus as they would have to take off their face masks.
Responding to her comments, the Chairman of the Nevada Gambling Commission John Moran reminded everyone that new policies could be added anytime.
“The policies are not chiseled in granite. They can be revised and modified.” – John Moran on Nevada’s plan for casino reopening.
Despite the proposed measures, many think that it’s still early to reopen the casinos. There are worries that the COVID-19 pandemic could return with a vengeance if social distancing measures aren’t followed.
Detroit Casinos Could Stay Closed Throughout 2020
One of the people who think social distancing cannot be achieved in casinos is the mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan.
Earlier this week, Duggan attended a press conference in which he asserted the future of the casino industry in this city is not that bright. According to him, Detroit might not see casinos reopening until 2021.
Duggan indicated that his opinion is that keeping casinos closed until the vaccine is found would be the best solution. He did, however, admit that such a decision would have devastating consequences on the casino and hospitality industry.
Duggan is the mayor of Detroit, a city in Michigan, which is one of the 26 states that still have stay-at-home orders in place.
Dramatic Rise in Online Gambling Worldwide
It is estimated that almost 90% of Americans have been under lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. With government officials asking people to shelter in place, it’s not surprising that the online casino industry has experienced a significant boom.
Practically the same situation is everywhere else in the world. Across Europe, the extreme rise in online gambling has led to pleas for banning these sorts of activities. In the United Kingdom, for example, many psychologists have raised their concerns about the increase in problem gambling.
Some other countries in Europe have decided to act on this issue. Sweden, for instance, has passed laws that limit the gamblers to deposit no more than 5,000 Swedish krona per week, which is about $496. It’s a similar situation in Belgium and Spain, where the state has banned gambling advertising during the daytime.
Latvia is the country that has taken the most extreme measures. All online gambling activities are temporarily banned in that country. The ban will stay on until the end of the pandemic. Interestingly enough, Latvia’s neighboring state of Belarus has decided to do just the opposite.
The former Soviet republic is one of the few places on Earth where professional sports didn’t go on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did Belarus decide to ignore the global pandemic, but its government also took this opportunity to relax the laws on online gambling.