Indiana’s casinos now have a list of everything they’ll have to do in order to open up for business again.
The state’s casinos will be reopening sometime between June 14 and July 4.
Before they can open back up, each casino will have to submit a reopening plan to the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC). The IGC will then approve or deny the plan based on whether or not it goes far enough to keep everyone involved safe from COVID-19.
The IGC recently released the bare minimum requirements that those plans have to hit.
The IGC’s casino requirements are pretty extensive
There’s a lot of changes that will shake up your traditional casino experience for the time being.
The IGC plans on bringing the state’s casino industry back up to speed in phases, and these changes are a part of phase one.
At least for now, the commission isn’t sure what future stages are going to look like. As phase one gets underway and casinos start to reopen, they’ll be able to evaluate the areas that need extra attention.
Phase one’s rules cover every aspect of the casino experience.
Visitors will have to go through daily health screenings
Every day that you visit an Indiana casino during the start of the reopening process, you’ll have to chat with a greeter.
Gamblers will be stopped on their way inside by those greeters to go through a health screening.
The screening includes a minimum of three different questions. Answer yes to any one of them, and you’ll be denied access to the casino for the day.
Here’s a look those three questions:
- Have you had close contact with or cared for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days?
- Have you experienced any flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days?
- Have you traveled to any CDC Level 3 Travel Warning Countries in the last 14 days or been in close contact with someone who has?
That third rule is basically referring to any hotspots for the virus overseas. That includes areas like China, Iran, and most of Europe.
Since these are the bare minimum questions that casinos have to ask you, there might end up being more than three questions to answer at some places. It all depends on how your favorite casino is handling things.
The greeter you run into on your way inside will also give you a quick temperature check. No one above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit can come inside.
You’ll have to go through that process every day that you visit a casino. Employees will go through the same thing every day that they’re working.
Indiana casinos might open at 50% capacity, could require reservations
The IGC’s new rules will force casinos to keep an accurate tally of how many people are inside.
It’s all for the sake of social distancing.
“Phase one occupancy shall be limited to the number of available gaming positions with implemented social distancing plus 50%, or 50% of capacity, whichever is less.”
Casinos will also have to enforce social distancing in high-traffic areas like entrances and staircases. That will likely mean floor markings of some kind to ensure that everyone knows how much space to give each other.
If a casino is having a tough time keeping things under 50% capacity, it might be forced to switch to a reservation system. That kind of system would help them keep an exact tally of customers are inside at all times.
Casinos could force gamblers to wear masks inside
The IGC recommends that every customer wears a mask while inside a casino.
However, that isn’t a requirement. The IGC is letting casinos make their own calls on that.
If a casino does decide that it wants a mask rule, it will have to provide one to customers that don’t have their own.
If a requiring masks is something that a casino wants to do, it will have to include that in its reopening pitch to the IGC. The commission wants detailed plans to make sure that the casino will be able to get its hands on enough masks to make it happen.
That extra hoop might lean some casinos away from requiring masks. However, there’s no way to know for sure until casinos submit their reopening plans.
Changes to table games and slot machines
Since social distancing will be enforced at every casino, there will be some changes to traditional table games.
Table games will be limited to a max of three players each. Craps can have six players max, and roulette can have four.
All players at every table game will have to wear masks and sit at least six feet apart from others.
Additionally, poker and pai gow rooms will not be open during phase one.
Social distancing also applies to electronic gaming devices, such as slot machines.
A huge chunk of each casino’s machines will have to be taped off or removed from the floor altogether. That may create a more empty feeling inside, but it will help make sure that everyone is at least six feet apart from each other.
No live events, restaurants will follow state guidelines
To help limit the risk of spreading COVID-19, a slew of things cannot happen at casinos for the foreseeable future. That includes valet service, coat service, concerts, nightclubs, live events, shows, and any other type of large gathering.
Buffets are also off the table for casinos.
However, typical sit-down restaurants can still open up.
So what will that restaurant experience look like? Well, it depends on which stage of Gov. Holcomb’s reopening plan the casino is in.
In most places around Indiana, restaurants are open at 50% capacity right now.
But that differs depending on your area. For example, Indianapolis restaurants won’t open up for outdoor seating until May 22, or inside seating until June 1.
Restaurants inside of casinos will operate differently depending on the city or county they’re located in. Check in with your favorite casino to see how things are working at their location.
Indiana casinos will have new cleaning and smoking policies
Constantly cleaning surfaces will be a big part of the reopening efforts. Surfaces that get touched by different people, like ATM’s, counters and kiosks will be cleaned several times throughout the day.
Dice will be cleaned for every new shooter at games that use them, and chips will be disinfected every hour.
Each casino will also have at least one designated cleaner for every 50 gaming positions. That person will clean every spot after a customer finishes using it.
Casinos will also have to have a special disinfectant policy, in case there ends up being a confirmed COVID case on the property.
That may involve temporarily shutting down to clean everything, but there’s no way to know for sure yet. The IGC isn’t offering much guidance on those plans but expects them to be a part of each casino’s reopening pitch.
IGC also has new standards for air quality inside casinos.
Each casino will have to pump in extra fresh air that runs through new high-quality filtration systems.
Additionally, those air quality changes also apply to smoking, which can no longer take place anywhere inside. Each casino will have to designate new smoking-specific areas that everyone will have to use.
New IN gaming rules could become more strict
It’s important to keep in mind that all of these are the absolute bare minimum requirements for reopening.
When casinos send in their reopening plans to the IGC, they could tighten any of those guidelines even more. So don’t be surprised if things end up with even more precautions.
Adding extra safety measures could make a casino more likely to get approval for opening up closer to that June 14 date. With most of the state’s casinos eager to get up and running again, that might be a route that they take.
However, every casino will approach things differently. As things start to reopen, check in with your local casino to see how they’re handling things.