Mohegan Sun Pocono president and CEO Tony Carlucci doesn’t know yet when the Plains Twp. casino can reopen but he said new safety measures will be put in place when it does.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board has not yet outlined the guidelines but Carlucci said he expects they will be similar to Mohegan Sun’s flagship location in Connecticut.
Plans are underway to reopen Mohegan Sun in Connecticut some time after Memorial Day.
When it reopens, gamblers’ temperatures will be checked as they arrive and masks must be worn. Every other slot machine will be disabled for social distancing. Players at some blackjack tables will be separated from dealers and other players by plexiglass.
“Our safety measures and physical distancing plans will be materially similar to those being developed in Connecticut, including temperature checks, physical distancing and plexiglass utilization,” Carlucci said.
Carlucci said once Mohegan Sun Pocono officials receive guidance from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, “we will ensure our plans are finalized to meet all of the requirements form our regulatory agency.”
According to the American Gaming Association, 52 commercial and tribal casinos nationwide have reopened and 937 remain closed as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
While dozens of casinos throughout the country have reopened with new safety protocols in place, it’s still uncertain when Pennsylvania casinos can reopen.
Mohegan Sun Pocono, Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County and 10 other casinos statewide have been shut down for two months to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Luzerne and Monroe counties remain in the red phase and Gov. Tom Wolf’s plan states that casinos cannot reopen until they are in the green phase.
Doug Harbach, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, said it is unknown when that will be. The guidelines for casinos to follow when they reopen also has not yet been finalized, he said.
“In the meantime, we are working with the casinos on minimum safety guidelines to reopen, but those are not final or public yet,” Harbach said.
According to the governor’s plan, all entertainment facilities including casinos, theaters, concerts, museums, zoos, botanical gardens, racetracks, professional, semi-professional or amateur sports teams or clubs, carnivals, amusement and water parks must continue to suspend operations once counties enter the yellow phase.
The statewide closures of casinos have caused a huge economic impact.
Overall revenue dropped 51% in March as all Pennsylvania casinos were mandated to shut down halfway through the month to protect people from COVID-19, according to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.
Overall revenue at Mohegan Sun Pocono dropped more than 56% in March from more than $21.5 million in March 2019 to less than $9.4 million in March 2020.
Mohegan Sun Pocono has been closed since March 16. The casino employs 1,262 people, Gaming Board officials said.
Carlucci said the majority of employees have been furloughed but employee benefits remain in place.
Denise Allabaugh is a business writer for The Citizens’ Voice. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-821-2115 or @CVAllabaugh on Twitter.