The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), the industry regulatory body in the state, released a document sent to the casino companies that provided them with the minimum requirements they must fulfill before re-opening their land-based gaming facilities. All 12 casinos in Pennsylvania have been closed since mid-March to help support state and federal government efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
“As conditions throughout the Commonwealth improve and the reopening of casinos is authorized, the PGCB desires to assure that re-openings occur in a manner which promote the safety of casino patrons and employees alike as well as assure an environment conducive to proper regulatory oversight.”Kevin O’Toole, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board
Compliance with Measures
All casinos in the state must employ a safety officer to ensure they comply with the measures, while the rest of the employees will need to undergo special training to create awareness among them about the specific processes that will be affected by the new protocols implementation.
Employees will have their temperature checked prior to every entry of the premises, and inside the properties they will need to wear protective masks. The mask rule applies to all patrons as well. Besides the masks, sanitizer stations must be installed at the casino entrances to be used by both staff and guests before they enter the property, while inside the casinos floor markings to encourage physical distancing among customers should be in place.
Enhanced Cleaning Protocols
Important part of the minimum requirements involve the enhancement of cleaning protocols throughout the facilities, with all cleaning staff provided with the necessary equipment to safely fulfill the task of frequently cleaning all public and back-of-house areas. Besides that, casinos should come up with cleaning protocols for chips, dice and other gaming devices, to ensure these are properly cleaned on a regular basis.
The gaming regulator pointed out certain measures regarding enforcing the physical distancing for slot gaming, such as installing plexiglass barriers between terminals, disabling some machines to create space, as well as removing their chairs. Sanitizer wipes should be available to guests, on top of the frequent cleaning of the slot machines. Regarding table games, places at the tables will be limited to ensure people do not sit next to each other. Guests will not be allowed to gather as well.
No Poker, No Valet Service
Poker rooms within the casinos will not re-open for the foreseeable future, as the contact between players at the poker tables, through chips and cards, is considered to be a risk that cannot be mitigated. The same applies for the valet services which will also remain suspended until further notice.
Sports books are allowed to re-open only if they re-organize so that to ensure physical distancing among its customers, enhanced cleaning procedures for a high level of hygiene, as well as sanitizing products at the disposal of its clients.
Casinos cannot re-open without being permitted to do so by the PGCB, after informing it how they intend to address the list of re-opening requirements. The gaming regulator did not set a date for when gaming venues will be able to resume activities.