As the US coronavirus outbreak and summary restrictions on casinos continue to evolve, there is no unified course of action among states on when and how to reopen these critical tax-revenue-generating businesses.
In fact, even some individual states lack a cohesive, singular plan.
For example, New Jersey Casinos reopened in early July, and Detroit-area casinos are reopening now. Maryland casinos are also back in business, as are Florida venues and Mississippi gambling houses. Roughly 76% of all US casinos are currently open.
Naturally, these casinos are all operating at greatly reduced capacities, from 15% to 75% of normal customer volume.
This is in addition to new social distancing and sanitation protocols, including the installation of plexiglass screens between players and dealers, the abolition of casino chips, and limited opportunities for players to handle their own cards and other game pieces.
However, New York is going the other way, as Governor Andrew Cuomo declared the state’s commercial casinos to be “nonessential” and indicated that they’d remain shuttered indefinitely.
In Nevada, many casinos have opened their doors to the public, while others have not. Two months ago, it was announced that four Station Casino venues would remain closed until June 2021. These were the Palms, Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho, and Fiesta Henderson.
Now, there’s news that the Little Nugget in Reno will be closed permanently, as might the aforementioned Station properties.
Frank Fertitta, CEO of Station Casinos parent company Red Rock Resorts, says that the final call to reopen the venues next year or close them for good has not yet been made.
“We don’t know if or when we’re going to reopen any of the closed properties. We think it’s too early to make that decision. …
We’re going to continue to get clarity and to navigate the situation to make well-informed decisions. Whatever decisions we make will be made in the best interest of shareholder value.”
Of course, for casino gamblers who are between 18 and 20 years old, these reopenings and permanent closures are, in a word, irrelevant.
As each of these venues requires gamblers to be at least 21 to play on their gaming floors (or online, for those operations that offer such domestic services), they might as well all be closed.
But 18 and up players in the US do have options, and – what’s more – those options have been available throughout the entire pandemic, with nary a shutdown or hiccup in terms of access and up-time.
By gambling at the best 18+ online casinos that operate under international licenses and are headquartered outside of US jurisdiction, American gamblers in most states can enjoy their favorite slots and table games 24/7.
These sites often also have full sportsbooks with leagues from the US and abroad, and they’ve even got international racebooks so you can bet on the ponies at tracks from around the world.
Not a single domestic operator offers all these markets under one roof (or on one site), which means that not only do 18 and up players get more bang for their buck, they also get far more gambling markets under the umbrella of a single online account.
This should, by all rights, be a major wake-up call to states that have brick-and-mortar casinos but no legal online components for gamblers who – by government fiat or individual choice – will not spend money at local retail venues.
The impact of the coronavirus has been markedly more significant and deleterious to casinos in states where Internet-based betting is against local gambling laws.
For example, New Jersey casinos reported losses in the realm of 20-30% for the first half of 2020. That’s a big dip, but it isn’t catastrophic as a one-off. Meanwhile, Nevada casinos reported losses of over 90% for the same time period!
The only difference between the two states?
New Jersey offers online casino gambling, while Nevada does not.
Granted, even if these states legalize online casino games for their residents and visitors, the legal age at which patrons would be able to take advantage of such amusements is going to remain 21-plus.
But offshore casino operators that accept members at just 18 years old aren’t going anywhere, and if you want a safe, legitimate gambling experience, these sites will welcome you with open arms.
You don’t even have to wear a mask.