Two casinos in Pennsylvania have reopened and another one is reopening Friday, while nine others remain closed temporarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There’s no word yet when nine casinos, including Mohegan Sun Pocono in Plains Twp. and Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County, will reopen.
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board executive director Kevin O’Toole said at an online meeting Wednesday that Lady Luck Casino at Nemacolin will reopen Friday.
Rivers Casino Pittsburgh and the Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington County were the first casinos to reopen Tuesday following the temporary closure of all casinos in mid-March.
These casinos are located in counties in the western part of the state in counties that entered the green phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan.
O’Toole said the reopening of the casinos marked the “beginning of the new normal for the Pennsylvania casino industry and the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.”
“Both reopenings went very well,” O’Toole said. “Both casinos complied with the requirements to limit patronage to no more than 50% of capacity.”
As part of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board’s protocol to ensure health and safety, he said patrons and employees at casinos also are required to wear facial coverings.
“To ensure social distancing between people, limits have been placed on the number of players at each table game and many slot machines were deactivated to separate slot players the appropriate distance,” he said.
Gerry Ahern, Pennsylvania gaming analyst with the Gambling.com Group said the shutdown has been “devastating” for casinos.
In February, Pennsylvania casinos posted gross revenue from slots and table games of about $277 million. That dropped to $120 million combined in March and zero for April and May, he said.
“The casinos lost out on nearly three months of potential income with the prospects of reduced cash flow for the months that follow as Pennsylvania undoubtedly will take a cautious approach to allowing casinos to run at full capacity,” Ahern said. “Patrons may also be reluctant to return until fears of a coronavirus second wave are either mitigated or a vaccine becomes available.”
Denise Allabaugh is a business writer for The Citizens’ Voice. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-821-2115 or @CVAllabaugh on Twitter.