After almost five months of being forced to close due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), casinos in England were allowed to reopen their doors on 15th August.
These venues were part of the government’s latest reopening guidelines, which also allowed theatres and bowling alleys to welcome back customers.
Casinos are required to apply multiple safety measures, with players not allowed to touch their cards amongst other things.
Venues in Scotland and Wales remain shut, though Scottish casinos will be allowed to open again from this Monday.
Safety measures: what is and isn’t allowed?
Although players cannot touch their cards, iNTER GAME reports that they can still touch their chips.
The above restriction means that games where hands are normally dealt with the cards facing down, such as three-card poker, will have their hands dealt facing up instead. Everybody is therefore now able to see one another’s cards, which makes it easier for them to workout what cards the dealer has.
For the moment, playing craps isn’t a viable option. This is because not only does it involve large groups of players gathered around a table.
Speaking about the new card-touching rules, Owner of Leicester Square’s Hippodrome Casino Simon Thomas said that “it gives the customers a slight advantage but it’s a necessary move”.
Other safety measures include contactless payments, capacity limits, screens on both gaming tables and machines, and voluntary PPE equipment and face masks for both visitors and staff.
Wear a mask or pay the price
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that people who persistently refuse to wear a mask could be hit with harsher fines.
Refusal to wear a face-covering in places where it’s mandatory currently comes with a £100 fine, which can be halved if paid in two weeks. New measures, however, will double the penalty for repeat offences – capped at £3,200.
“This is what we have been building towards for some time now”
Genting Casinos has 52 casinos dotted throughout the UK and said that it would open most of its 35 premises in England last Saturday. At the time, a spokesperson for the operator said the below.
“After weeks of meticulous planning, we are fully confident that our casinos are ready for reopening.
“This is what we have been building towards for some time now, and the delays we have experienced have of course been hugely frustrating and damaging to the business.
“The reopening is therefore incredibly exciting for all involved and we cannot wait to welcome customers back into our casinos.”
When the reopening date for casinos in England had been announced, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) welcomed the government’s decision. However, the council also said that the next few months will be vital for the industry’s recovery.