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U.S. Casinos Introduce Measures to Fight Coronavirus/COVID-19

Coronavirus

It’s no secret that the biggest news spreading around the world right now is the coronavirus pandemic. As more confirmed cases and a few resultant deaths are reported on a daily basis, countries have started taking measures to try and halt the spread of COVID-19. The virus has already brought a halt to a few poker tournaments, including the Triton Super High Roller Series Jeju, which was to take place in South Korea from Feb. 10 - 22. Now, it looks as though various casino companies within the United States are also introducing coronavirus policies.

Coronavirus Affects U.S. Casino Corporations

Caesars Focuses on Hygiene Levels

Caesars Logo

The Caesars and MGM brands own various land-based casinos around the United States, and both are taking action so as to control the spread of COVID-19.

Following information provided to it by the health authorities, Caesars has stated that it is frequently reminding employees through multiple channels to wash their hands often whilst also posting hand-washing signs in public areas for guests in its casinos. Additionally, hand sanitizing dispensers are being distributed around the establishments in multiple locations for guests to make use of during any visit.

Caesars Coronavirus EmailCaesars March 10 Email Regarding Coronavirus

Caesars, which owns land-based casinos such as Harrah’s Resort Southern California, Bally’s Atlantic City, The Cromwell in Las Vegas and Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack in Chester, Pennsylvania, has committed to purchasing additional cleaning products and disinfectants for all of its establishments too. What’s more, Caesars has suspended all international business travel to areas that are suffering under higher infection rates. That being said, all casinos that are currently being run under the Caesars brand will remain open for visitors to access for the time being.

Eldorado and Caesars Deal May Crumble

It was on June 14 last year that Caesars Entertainment also announced that it would be merging with Eldorado Resorts in a $17.3 billion deal. As part of that deal, Eldorado would acquire all of the properties that Caesars owns around the United States. That proposed merger was approved by shareholders of both corporations on Friday, Nov. 15 but is still waiting on regulatory approval in several jurisdictions.

However, news has recently come to light of this deal perhaps being suspended amidst the outbreak of coronavirus. The financial institutions that have pledged to put up more than $7 billion in loans for the acquisition could find that selling the idea of this merger to investors is quite a difficult process. Coronavirus has had such an effect on the global financial markets that the merger stands to suffer from it – possibly irreparably. Stock trading was temporarily halted on several exchanges during the second week of March as a route away from causing further recession movements.

In a broader sense, the effects of coronavirus have had a massive impact on the gaming industry. Shares in Eldorado went through a drop of over 50% in just two weeks, thanks to the fact that the hospitality industry has also taken a knock. And while the deal has not yet fallen apart altogether, it could be said that it rests on unsteady ground.

MGM Makes Changes in Response to Coronavirus

MGM Logo

The MGM Resorts brand owns various hospitality and entertainment establishments around the world too. These include multiple sites on the Las Vegas Strip, such as the Luxor (a 30-storey, pyramid-shaped hotel and casino) and MGM Grand Las Vegas (with 6,852 rooms). Outside of this city, MGM also possesses establishments like the Gold Strike Casino Resort in Mississippi, the Borgata in Atlantic City and MGM Springfield in Massachusetts. In 2018, the company acquired the New York Empire City Casino to add to its collection in an $850 million takeover. Not only that, but the company possesses resorts in China (where coronavirus first broke out).

MGM Coronavirus EmailMGM Also Sent an Email on March 10 About Coronavirus

In a statement to members of its rewards program, M Life, the MGM brand said that the health and safety of its customers is the most important aspect for the company. Signed by Chairman and CEO of the company, Jim Murren, the statement went on to say that even though cleaning of the MGM establishments is a standard affair anyway, changes have been implemented to ensure that this is done more frequently and placing an emphasis on public areas. By following guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Health Organization, MGM is hoping that any potential visitors to its casino resorts will feel comfortable and confident to enter.

In a bid to keep control over things and ensure that the latest information is provided to employees, the Corporate and Resort leadership teams are also meeting on a daily basis.

MGM and Wynn Temporarily Close Buffets

In addition to the change in how frequently its establishments are cleaned, MGM is also closing seven of its buffets on the Las Vegas Strip. This is foreseen as being just a temporary measure. The buffets that are due to close include the ones based at the Aria, the Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Excalibur, and the aforementioned Luxor and MGM Grand resorts.

These temporary closures will come into effect on Sunday, Feb. 15 with no specific date set for them to re-open as of yet. On Friday, March 13, MGM revealed that it will also close its clubs, spas, and fitness centers effective immediately.

The buffet side of things is also something that the five-star resort Wynn Las Vegas has taken the opportunity to alter. As of Wednesday, Feb. 11, Wynn said that its buffet would have “stationed culinary staff at each food station” who would serve the guests to stop them from having to touch utensils themselves. However, the next day, Wynn announced that it will be shutting its buffet down entirely.

Caesars, on the other hand, has chosen to keep its buffets open, stating that it is incorporating cleaning and hygiene protocols in these areas alongside the rest of their resorts.

Wynn and Hard Rock Introduce New Protocols

And it seems as though the buffet isn’t the only part that Wynn is tackling, instead choosing to update its other policies to ensure the safety of guests in its casinos and hotels. Several changes have been made in accordance with information passed on by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the Southern Nevada Health District.

In line with the other casino resorts, all locations at the Wynn are being cleaned and sanitized frequently, including elevator buttons, casino slot machines, door handles, handrails, and other features located in public areas. Moreover, the Wynn has opted to suspend activities at its theaters, nightclubs, and other “large entertainment gatherings” not just at its Las Vegas location but also at Encore Boston Harbor too.

The chief operating officer of the Hard Rock brand, Jon Lucas, also sent out a statement addressing potential visitors to the company’s casinos. Again, it expressed that the safety of Hard Rock customers and employees is the main focus and spoke of increasing the rigor of cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout its properties around the world. Additionally, the statement said that anyone who needs to modify travel plans due to Coronavirus issues will be credited with any fees, and the credit will be valid for one year.

Hard Rock has taken the further step of canceling all concert and nightclub entertainments at its U.S. properties for 30 days. Among the cancellations are shows by Adam Sandler, T-Pain, and Pitbull

An Alternative Route If You Intend to Visit a Casino

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While the effects of Coronavirus have been seen throughout the world, some people may choose not to risk going out and entering into land-based casinos. That’s why it’s quite helpful that there’s also the option of visiting an online poker room or casino instead. Various sites are accessible in the United States for poker gaming, and many of them offer up casino table games and slots too. Here's a guide that can help American online poker fans find the very best platform.

If you aren't interested in poker and just seek standard casino fare, like video slots, blackjack, and roulette, then you can instead read our list of the best U.S.A. internet casinos.