Sunshine State casinos are back in action, so put on your shades, make your best poker face, and go all in!
18 and over Florida residents that are interested in playing poker for real money at a domestic casino can ante up at Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Casino, as long as social distancing requirements are followed.
Most of the state’s Hard Rock Casinos will be opening their doors on Friday, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, but the Tampa location opened on May 21, and they are setting the tone for their sister sites regarding reopening procedures.
Many gamblers in the region are clamoring for a return to normal activities, and the Hard Rock is doing their best to oblige. However, for the time being, they will not be offering their assortment of wagering games to a full house.
In late May, 2000 employees returned to work to welcome the Tampa Hard Rock’s special invitees to the grand reopening. One thousand of the venue’s high-dollar VIP members were extended the opportunity to be the among the first betters to re-enter the casino after the coronavirus lockdowns were lifted.
Operations have been running smoothly since then, with customers adhering to stringent social distancing guidelines without any major complications thus far.
One such requirement is that for each slot game that is in operation, two slot machines will be powered down, creating a natural buffer between patrons.
As an additional measure, the Hard Rock in Tampa has deployed thermal cameras to detect any unusual body temperatures that could indicate a COVID-19 infection. Anyone with a temperature in excess of 100.4 degrees will not be granted access into the facility. (It’s a good thing they do this at the door, because when you’ve got a grand on the line and are waiting for the river, your temperature is probably going to be a lot higher than that!)
Customers that have been flagged by thermal cameras will have the chance to get a second reading on their temperature with a physical thermometer, just in case the initial readout was inaccurate.
The Hard Rock has also put together cleaning teams that are constantly moving about the casino, sanitizing all touchable surfaces, including poker chips. They are easy to spot, wearing bright neon yellow t-shirts with black lettering that says “Clean Team.”
Some of the bars and cocktail lounges have opened for business, but the casino’s restaurants remain closed until further notice.
The Tampa Hard Rock Casino has not only called the bluff of the CDC by adhering to their stringent guidelines, but they’ve also shown other businesses, gambling-related or not, that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Despite all of these precautionary measures in place, there are still many in the 18+ gambling crowd that prefer to remain safely at home without exposing themselves to any additional risks of infection.
In that case, the best option is an 18+ offshore casino operating online. A majority of the same games offered at popular Vegas-style casinos are featured at offshore betting sites, and most of them feature a minimum age of 18 years old to become a member.
The Hard Rock Casino in Tampa allows for 18 and over gamblers to enter their poker room and play for real money, but a minimum age of 21 years old is required to play any of the resort’s remaining slot machines and table games.
This is not the case with major offshore casinos, as they offer their complete selection of betting games to 18+ gamblers, and many also feature fully operational online sportsbooks and racebooks, the former of which is something that is not available domestically in Florida by any means.
Only time will tell how effective these distancing procedures will be at suppressing the spread of COVID-19. It is up to each individual gambler as to whether they want to expose themselves to possible infection or expose themselves to offshore gambling options, instead.