No dice, yet, for casino reopenings in Illinois

Chicago News USA

While casinos in Las Vegas reopened a week ago and Indiana prepares to welcome back gamblers Monday, it’s no dice, yet, for the 10 gambling houses in Illinois.

Illinois Gaming Board officials said Thursday the timing and conditions for the resumption of casino gambling is still unknown, but will be based upon public health guidance and the framework of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

The state ordered all casinos closed March 16 amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

“Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois Gaming Board are mindful of the hardship and dire economic disruption this pandemic is causing for our industry, our licensees, their employees and communities and families across Illinois,” board Administrator Marcus Fruchter said during a board meeting Thursday. “We are committed to the safe, fair, deliberate, consistent and regulatory compliant resumption of casino and video gaming when health conditions permit.”

To that end, the gaming board this week released a set of protocols casinos must follow to obtain approval to resume operations. It includes six-foot social distancing requirements, the availability and use of face masks and personal protective equipment, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes; and cleaning of touch surfaces, table game areas dice, chips and cards.

Temperature checks will be required upon entry to casinos, which would be limited to 50% occupancy to start. For now, what won’t be permitted is buffets, poker rooms, table game tournaments, or any other promotions that require patrons to cluster.

Each casino must submit its own resumption plan to the gaming board for approval, officials said.

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