Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board releases casino reopening protocols

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FILE – In this Dec. 13, 2018, file photo, gamblers place bets in the temporary sports betting area at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia. Most of the states that moved quickly to legalize sports after a Supreme Court decision last year, including Pennsylvania, are still waiting for the expected payoff. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board released a document on Wednesday outlining requirements needed to be completed before casinos reopen.

Casinos are currently unable to reopen until the green phase of the governor’s reopening plan. The Wolf administration is expected to provide more details for the green phase later this week.

The guidelines offer several measures that look to help reduce the threat of spread. Measures include:

  • All patrons are required to wear a mask while inside, although hats are discouraged.
  • Floor markings must be implemented for patrons to maintain six feet apart.
  • Slot machines: installing plexiglass barriers between machines, removing chairs at certain machines, disabling some machines to maintain distance. Sanitizing wipes will also be provided to clean machines before and after use.
  • Table games: social distance between players will be required. Poker rooms will be unable for use due to players handling cards and chips. That decision will be re-evaluated based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance.
  • Ticket writers for sports betting will be required to wear a mask and gloves or have a plexiglass barrier installed between the writer and patrons.

“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 promotes the safety of casino patrons and employees alike as well as assure an environment conducive to proper regulatory oversight,” Executive Director Kevin O’Toole said.

O’Toole said these new operational requirements have been laid out by the board based on best-practices alongside various plans written by gaming companies in Pennsylvania.

“While these guidelines for casino operations will be subject to amendment as we move closer to a time of reopening, we believe this plan will be effective in mitigating and reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for all employees, patrons, and other guests,” he added.

O’Toole noted that the pandemic has dealt the commonwealth’s casino industry an unexpected and unprecedented blow, but that the board is committed to helping casino operators open safely.

“We fully anticipate that we will work with the industry as it seeks to become, once again, an economic engine for Pennsylvania and to restore the first-rate entertainment facilities each of our licensees have developed,” he concluded.

The full document can be view below:

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