The Province of Buenos Aires approved the opening of casinos and bingos starting from December 14, but in reality only slot machines will be allowed to operate.
The announcement was made on Tuesday, after a meeting headed by Carlos Bianco, Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Province, with businessmen, trade unionists from the gaming sector and the heads of the Provincial Institute of Lotteries and Casinos (IPLyC), Omar Galdurralde and María Laura García present.
“This measure is the third stage of gradual openings of the game in Buenos Aires since in May the opening of the betting agencies had been authorized and in August, the equestrian activities,” indicated the Lottery of the City of Buenos Aires in a press release.
The measure enables the opening of rooms in the 11 casinos and 44 bingos operating in the province. However, this only applies to slot machines – bingo, roulette and other types of gambling offered in gambling venues won’t be available for the time being.
Properties will operate under a strict sanitary protocol and players will be able to enjoy only those venues which are considered risk-free.
The measure establishes that gambling venues may operate at 30% of their capacity and must be emptied every two hours for sanitization and ventilation. In addition, players will declare in writing that they are not infected with coronavirus.
Betting room employees will go through sanitizing carpets and will have to use masks permanently while at work. Food or beverages will not be permitted in the rooms, and slot machines will be separated to comply with social distancing protocols.
A Gradual Reopening with Possible Adjustments
After the closure of the venues, which will have lasted nearly 9 months, the situation is still unclear.
“The truth is that we don’t clearly know how the activity will be developed or how the schedules and the employees will be affected, but we’re sure that we will know all the specifications eventually,” stated Roberto Páez, General Secretary of the Mar del Plata Casinos Maestranza Unión, during a press conference.
According to City authorities, the new protocol may be “expanded or modified according to changes that may arise regarding the situation and any other suggestion from jurisdictional authorities”.
The announcement was met with skepticism with various parties arguing that many other businesses ought to be allowed to reopen before gambling venues.
Meanwhile, online gambling licensing is also attacked as brick-and-mortar casino owners fear that it could kill their business in Buenos Aires. Nevertheless, the city okayed physical gambling businesses to apply for an interactive gaming license late in September.