Why Craps and Roulette Got the Axe During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hand Axe and Craps and Roulette Background

COVID-19 has turned the gambling world upside down in many respects. First, it convinced many regulatory bodies to shut down land-based casinos for a while.

Now, the coronavirus has caused the same regulators to impose social distancing standards on casinos. The latter must use various measures to minimize the chances of gamblers contracting COVID-19.

These measures include:

  • Requiring gamblers to wear masks inside of gaming establishments.
  • Forcing players to maintain social distancing (approximately six feet apart).
  • Limiting the number of gamblers allowed in a casino.
  • Requiring that employees clean slot machines and seats whenever players leave games.

Land-based casino gambling definitely isn’t the same as it was before the coronavirus. However, most games are still running.

Two of the only exceptions, though, include craps and roulette. Casinos in many jurisdictions aren’t allowed to run either of these games.

Why have roulette and craps got the axe during the pandemic? You can find out below as I cover the basic nature of these games along with why they’re not perfectly suited for the COVID-19 era.

Basic Characteristics of a Craps Game

Playing craps for real money is one of the most exciting activities in the casino. Players typically like betting on the shooter winning, which means that they all wager in a similar fashion.

In turn, these gamblers cheer together when the shooter is successful. This scenario creates a team-like atmosphere.

Some gamblers even high five each other during a hot streak. They’re so excited about their good fortunes that they’re willing to fist bumps strangers.

Gambler Betting on a Craps Table

Another noteworthy aspect of craps is the dice. Each gambler gets an opportunity to act as the shooter.

Most players accept their turn as the shooter. After all, who doesn’t want to roll the dice in an effort to help everybody win!?

Of course, different gamblers touching the dice isn’t desirable during the pandemic. Neither is touching hands when celebrating wins.

Basic Characteristics of a Roulette Game

A roulette round starts with gamblers placing chips on the desired betting spaces. If somebody wants to wager on the number 15, for example, they’ll lay their chips on the 15 spot.

The roulette table is only so big. Therefore, players sometimes lean over each other in order to make wagers. Gamblers have limited time to place their bets too. Once the dealer yells “no more bets,” no one is allowed place any more chips down.

This urgency, combined with a relatively small betting board, means that players tend to come into contact with each other.

Once the betting round is over, gamblers watch the spinning wheel in anticipation. They normally don’t high five strangers like in craps, but they might do so with any friends at the table.

Reasons Why Craps & Roulette Aren’t Pandemic Friendly

You may already have an impression on why roulette and craps aren’t great options with the coronavirus floating around. But I’d still like to provide more in-depth analysis on why these games are shut down below.

Crowded Tables

Craps and roulette are two of the most-popular gambling games. Depending upon the specific night, they may entertain over a dozen gamblers at once.

These crowds definitely amp up the excitement when you’re playing. However, they also increase the likelihood of germs being spread.

Of course, casinos could institute a social distancing policy for these tables. It would be much tougher for gambling establishments to enforce these policies, though, with craps and roulette.

These games aren’t like slot machines, where players are stationary the entire time. Instead, they call on players to stand and move around at different points.

Players Touching Each Other

Both of these games see gamblers touch each other in different manners. For craps, players mingle when celebrating a shooter’s hot streak.

In roulette, people come in contact when placing their chips on the table. They sometimes wait until the wheel begins spinning and put chips down in a hurried manner.

Casino Chips Placed on a Roulette Table

Most casino games don’t require players to touch each other at all. For example, you’re unlikely to see baccarat or blackjack players first bump each other after wins. Therefore, the majority of games are considered acceptable during the pandemic.

Social Nature

Craps is easily one of the most-social casino games. It sees gamblers cheer together and place the same type of bets.

Roulette may not be as vibrant as the craps table. Nevertheless, it still features plenty of conversation between gamblers due to the close proximity.

As the term social distancing suggest, though, social games aren’t entirely desirable right now. They have a greater tendency to spread the coronavirus.

Craps Players Touching the Same Dice

Craps games only use one set of dice. Therefore, gamblers pass the dice down the table whenever it’s a new shooter’s turn.

Unless they’re germaphobes, most people don’t pay a second thought to handing dice around. However, passing the cubes carries much more significance these days.

Of course, casinos could easily have their employees clean dice off after every turn. But this would require workers to clean yet one another thing in the casino.

When Will Roulette & Craps Be Back?

Casinos aren’t thrilled that they must cut out two of their most-popular games. That said, the gaming industry is wondering when they’ll get to offer craps and roulette again.

As of now, nobody really knows when these games are fully coming back. Gaming regulatory bodies are largely left to make this decision.

They could hurry and rush roulette and craps back. This move would allow casinos to begin capitalizing on these games as soon as possible.

The downside for gamblers, though, is that the odds of getting COVID-19 increase if the gaming world re-introduces these games. Then, any regulatory body that approved craps and roulette would take serious negative press.

Casinos probably won’t be allowed to offer these games until the coronavirus is a much smaller threat. Until then, they’ll remain sidelined for the foreseeable future.

How Can You Enjoy These Games in the Meantime?

Chances are, you aren’t able to play roulette or craps in your local casino. Luckily, though, you do have the following options for enjoying these games.

Online Casinos

Internet casinos have been COVID-resistant. They offer all of their games in cyberspace and don’t require players to physically visit.

Of course, online roulette and craps don’t quite compare to the real deals in terms of atmosphere. Land-based casinos offer a more-exciting environment.

Nevertheless, gaming sites at least present a valid way to play online craps and roulette. They offer high-quality games that can be played for stakes as low as $1.

Live Dealer Casinos

Not everybody is a fan of playing online craps and roulette. They’d rather enjoy something closer to the real experience rather than virtual versions.

Here’s where live dealer casinos come into the fold. A live gaming site features a real dealer and table. The only difference is that you’re viewing this authentic experience through your smartphone or computer.

Live Dealer Online Roulette Game

If you don’t want to risk catching COVID-19, yet still desire the land-based casino feeling, then live casinos are the answer. Almost every live gaming site offers roulette.

Unfortunately, no live dealer outfits feature craps at this time. Assuming you’re mostly in the mood for roulette, though, then this aspect won’t bother you.

Casino Destinations With Light Restrictions

Most brick-and-mortar casinos have reopened across the world. As discussed before, though, many are operating at limited capacity and with several restrictions in place.

If you don’t want to be forced to wear a mask and sit six feet apart from everybody, you might consider visiting a destination with lighter restrictions.

The majority of countries are quite strict about wearing mask and keeping your distance. But you’ll find more-lax casinos in certain nations (e.g. Sweden).

I’m not suggesting to increase your risk of getting the coronavirus. However, casinos that ignore safeguards make it feel like you’re gambling in the pre-COVID days.


Casinos didn’t suddenly fall out of love with craps and roulette. Instead, they’ve been forced to shelve these games due to their social natures.

Both roulette and craps see players touch each other when placing bets and/or celebrating wins. Gamblers don’t normally mind bumping into other players, but they’re not particularly fond of doing so now.

Rather than make a monumental effort to separate craps and roulette players, casinos have simply shut these games down. In some cases, they’ve been required to do so by local gambling jurisdictions.

If you’re somebody who loves roulette and/or craps, you can still enjoy these games online. You may need to get used to playing online until casino jurisdictions finally roll out the craps and roulette tables again.