Mount Airy Casino Resort in Pennsylvania prepares to reopen on June 22. Mohegan Sun Pocono in Luzerne County plans to resume operations on the same day. With gambling revenue in the state still plummeting, any operators who return to business will work under strict post-COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
Following Three Months of Suspended Operations, Pennsylvania’s Casinos Reopen Gradually
Half of the casinos in Pennsylvania should be open by Monday, June 22. All of the venues will be operating under strict health and safety protocols. Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County has announced its plans to reopen on Monday, June 22 at noon. In an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19 outbreak in the state, casinos were ordered to close down in mid-March. The order by state Governor Tom Wolf included Mount Airy, which has been temporarily closed since. With that being said, Mount Airy’s golf club actually reopened back in May. Now, three months later, more operators reopen doors and try to shake off the memory of the novel coronavirus.
Besides Mount Airy, another state operator announced plans to reopen on Monday. Mohegan Sun Pocono in Luzerne County said that it will reopen for visitors on Monday morning. While the two operators plan to reopen on Monday, Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Dauphin County already reopened for guests yesterday. On the other hand, Wind Creek Bethlehem property remains closed for the moment, regardless the state’s plans to change from yellow to green phase on June 26.
Eight counties, which entered the green phase of the Pennsylvania’s reopening plan, were allowed to reopen casinos with 50% visitor capacity. Earlier this month, three other operators already reopened their doors for visitors. Those were The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin and Rivers Casino Pittsburgh.
More US Casinos Reopen Following Similar Post-COVID-19 Safety Measures
Focusing on today’s data from the American Gaming Association (AGA) we see that so far there are 734 tribal and commercial casinos in the US which resumed operations. With that being said, there are some 255 operators which are yet to reopen for visitors.
With more venues reopening, rules across each state follow similar mandatory health and safety measures. The post-COVID-19 hotel and casino atmosphere features enhanced cleaning of high traffic areas and touchable surfaces. Mask wearing for employees is mandatory in many states. On the other hand, in some states guests must wear a mask. In others, guests are only encouraged to wear such protection. Social distancing is implemented in many states whereas operators are required to disable slot machines to ensure proper distancing. Many operators have already installed plexiglass spacers.
Turning our eyes to Pennsylvania, along with the enhanced cleaning protocols and social distancing, the state required the casino employees to undergo COVID-19 training. With such training, employees will gain knowledge on COVID-19 symptoms recognition as well as the correct usage and discarding of personal protective equipment.
Pennsylvania’s Gaming Industry Took a Heavy Hit by COVID-19
Looking at revenue results from year on year, we observe a drastic revenue decline. The Keystone State’s gambling revenue shows a total of $61 million in May. Comparing the result to last year, we find a staggering decline of 79% in revenue, with last year’s results standing at $291 million.
In terms of online gambling revenue, we observe good numbers, considering the circumstances. The bigger part of May’s revenue was boosted mainly by online gambling activities, which raised some $56 million. Comparing the result to March, we see a drastic upside, whereas March online gambling revenue was only $25 million. Mount Airy raised $11 million of the gambling revenue in May. On the other hand, some $17.5 million of the revenue was brought in by Rivers Casino Philadelphia.
Multiple industries in Pennsylvania have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The hospitality and casino industry didn’t dodge the bullet. Wind Creek Bethlehem in Pennsylvania also felt the impact. When initially ordered to close back in March, the operator said it will pay nearly 2,400 employees at least until the end of May. But, as the COVID-19 period extended, the company was forced to furlough 2,095 employees as of June 1.