After close to two months of lockdown, casinos across the United States are looking to restart their operations and return back to business, notwithstanding any new social distancing and health safety rules that would need to be observed.
While Macau has been able to re-open fairly quickly after a two-week shut-down in February, not everyone has been as lucky. Melco Resorts, for example, wouldn’t be able to re-start its five properties in Cyprus until at least mid-July, as per an order issued by President Nicos Anastasiades.
MGM Resorts Plans Phased Re-opening in All States
In the United States, many operators and states have discussed measures about phased re-opening of their properties. MGM Resorts announced a comprehensive plan last week that will see the gambling company re-launch in all key markets in which it has property.
The company announced planned re-openings in Michigan, Massachusetts, and Nevada, with Illinois and New Jersey still under question.
Station Casinos to Reduce Staff
Red Rock Resorts’ consolidated subsidiary, Station Casinos, cautioned that while re-openings are on the cards for several properties, including Santa Fe, Red Rock, Green Valley Ranch, Wildfire, Sunset Station, Boulder Station, and Palace Station, the company could need to lay off people and re-hire based on the ensuing economic activity.
Station Casinos estimates it would need to reduce staff by 39% of its full-time workforce in a bid to comply with new occupancy and social distancing restrictions. The company is committed to paying wages through May 16, and confirmed that it would pay health benefits, including dental and vision, through September 30, 2020.
Westgate Refunds Reservations, Lights out until June 18
Westgate Las Vegas Resort and Casino is another property that doesn’t plan on an immediate re-launch. Instead, the casino is trying to stay more realistic as to when things could return back to normal.
In the company’s official statement, Westgate stated that it opted out of re-opening any sooner than June 18 as the company puts the safety of the community first.
Westgate also thanked the tireless work health care workers, law enforcement, the government, and the community at large have put in to protect Nevada’s residents and their families.
Westgate said that any reservations between today and June 18 will be canceled and all money refunded. If a booking has been placed through a third-party service, Westgate advised customers to contact said services directly.
Island Resort and Casino Launches on May 6
One of the first properties to launch itself back is Island Resort and Casino in Michigan, which will be restoring operations tomorrow, Wednesday, May 6. The casino has already published its guidelines for employees and guests to follow. Island Resort and Casino released an official statement in which it shared its excitement to be bringing its activities back online.
“To do this in the safest manner while keeping the health of our guests and employees the number one priority we have outlined these guidelines and expectations to ensure a healthy return.”
The casino also confirmed what parts of the casino would be available, including the VIP services, bars, bingo, select food offerings, as well as slot machines, among others. Guests will need to undergo a temperature check and anyone registering over 100 Fahrenheit would not be allowed on the premises of the casino.
Monmouth Park, Mountaineer Racetrack, Canterbury Park All Set to Return
Canterbury Park in Minnesota has confirmed that it will open its horse stabling area on Friday, May 8. Meanwhile, Mountaineer Racetrack should open on May 31, but the casino won’t restart operation on the same date.
Monmouth Park is preparing for a launch on July 4, but this is yet not set in stone, and the timeline could change again.
Restoring Operations Is No Panacea
Restoring activity will take a while. Phased openings will be the norm, but how quickly gambling companies can restart their businesses would also depend on how soon tourists and guests begin to arrive.
Westgate’s July opening is in line with what most experts agree is the bare minimum. Even after Macau reopened, guests were still missing in its casinos. Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) has collapsed and occupancy for March was just 23.2%, with the special administrative region resembling a ghost town.
Washington, Atlantic City and elsewhere, business leaders, tribal operators, and government officials have been working on the reopening of the industry.