Like other businesses, casinos are enforcing various policies during the COVID-19 pandemic. For starters, they’re operating at limited capacity to help stop the virus from spreading.
Casinos also require gamblers to wear masks on the gambling floor. Facemasks are supposed to prevent people from spreading the coronavirus through the air.
But if you’ve ever had to wear a mask at work or elsewhere for prolonged time periods, you know how irritating they can be. You may even wonder if masks have health consequences.
After all, it’s harder to breathe through cloth than without it. You might also worry about the fact that you could be taking in recycled air as well.
Assuming there are health consequences, will they impact your gambling results and make you lose money? I’ll answer this question by looking at two sides of the equation along with if masks ultimately hurt your gambling.
Some Experts Claim That Wearing Masks Have No Consequences
A popular circulating opinion regarding masks is that they cause you to get less oxygen and breathe in extra carbon dioxide (CO2). This thought makes sense when considering that cloth restricts both inhaling and exhaling to some degree.
According to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), though, none of these beliefs are true. You’re not going to breathe dangerous levels of CO2 or pass out at the casino table from a lack of oxygen.
“Prolonged use of any face mask, including the N95 respirator, has not been shown to cause carbon dioxide toxicity or lack of adequate oxygen in healthy people,” the VUMC explains.
The only time that you truly need to worry during long gambling sessions with a mask is if you have a pre-existing condition.
“For some persons with severe chronic lung disease, wearing a mask may make breathing more difficult,” the website notes, “but not because of CO2 retention.
Remember, many nurses and doctors wear mask for long periods throughout the day. They wouldn’t do so if masks caused them to get lightheaded and potentially mess up during a surgery.
Based on this view, you don’t really need to worry about playing poorly in the casino just because you’re wearing a mask. Instead, some health experts suggest that you’ll be just fine.
Others Claim that Masks Can Cause Problems
I’ve presented one side of the story on playing at land-based casinos with a mask on. But not every medical professional agrees that you’ll be perfectly okay when wearing masks for prolonged time periods.
Antonio I. Lazzarion, an MD and Epidemiologist at the University College London, warns the public that a mask can eventually lead to infection.
“Wearing a face mask makes the exhaled air go into the eyes,” says Lazzarion. “This generates an uncomfortable feeling and an impulse to touch your eyes. If your hands are contaminated, you are infecting yourself.”
But one thing you may not be able to avoid is the breathing difficulties that face masks cause. This is especially true if you have a medical condition.
“For people with COPD (causes decreased airflow in people), face masks are in fact intolerable to wear as they worsen their breathlessness,” Lazzarion points out.
“Moreover, a fraction of carbon dioxide previously exhaled is inhaled at each respiratory cycle. Those two phenomena increase breathing frequency and deepness, and hence they increase the amount of inhaled and exhaled air.”
A person with COPD or any other breathing problem not only puts themselves at risk by wearing a mask. They also increase the risk that others will contract the virus through their increased inhaled and exhaled air.
Will a Mask Ultimately Affect Your Gambling Skills?
The first thing that you should ask yourself regarding gambling with a mask on is if you have a medical condition. If so, then you’re going to struggle at the slot machines and tables.
As indicated by both VUMC and Dr. Lazzarion, a mask makes breathing more difficult. Furthermore, it intensifies the ill effects of your condition. It can even cause you to infect more people if you have COVID-19.
That said, you should definitely stay away from brick-and-mortar casinos for the time being. Otherwise, you’re going to suffer more breathing troubles and have difficulty focusing on the games at hand.
In contrast, you don’t need to worry about a mask if you’re perfectly healthy. You may find the cloth to be restrictive or even irritating, but you’ll still get enough oxygen to the brain.
Of course, even healthy individuals may hate the discomfort and thought of wearing a mask. In these cases, you could be impacted psychologically and do worse in the casino.
As long as this isn’t the case, though, you’ll be perfectly fine when gambling at brick-and-mortar establishment. Rumors that masks cause you to breathe in too much recycled CO2 are just that—rumors.
What to Do If You Hate Wearing a Mask or Have a Medical Condition
If you’re among the majority of gamblers who don’t suffer from a breathing problem, then you should have no trouble gambling at land-based casinos.
On the other hand, you want to seek out alternative options if you have a medical condition and/or simply hate breathing through cloth. Here are some other options available outside of brick-and-mortar venues.
Play Online Casino Games
Online casinos have served as a suitable alternative to land-based casinos for well over two decades. They give you the opportunity to play slots and virtual table games from basically anywhere.
Internet casinos are even more popular thanks to the rise of smartphones. Now, you can quickly pull your phone out of your pocket and play games.
The average online casino features hundreds of slots along with plenty of table games too. That said, you’ll have no shortage of options when playing at gaming sites.
As an added bonus, you don’t even need to risk money right away. Instead, you can register for an account and begin enjoying free online casino games.
This gives you an opportunity to try the game selection before actually making a deposit. After all, you don’t want to go through a lengthy deposit process, only to discover that you’re not a big fan of a particular site.
Play Live Dealer Casino Games
Perhaps regular internet casino games don’t satisfy your gaming urge. If so, you might want to visit the live dealer gaming section of an online casino.
A live casino offers the closest thing to social interaction that you’ll experience online. It streams action from a land-based gaming studio to your smartphone or computer.
Therefore, you get to enjoy the sights and sounds of a casino atmosphere without leaving home. You can also look forward to chatting with the dealer and fellow gamblers through the chat box.
If you’re looking to test the live dealer gaming waters, you can often times pick up a free bet after depositing. A free bet gives you a chance to win back losses stemming from your first (losing) live wager.
Enjoy Cards with Friends Safely
One more option involves getting together with some buddies and playing cards. Assuming you have friends who enjoy poker and aren’t worried about social distancing, then you can gamble live from home.
Sure, sitting at your kitchen table may not inspire visions of the Bellagio. But you may have even more fun since your friends will be involved.
The best part is that no employees will be enforcing social distancing or mask policies. Instead, your friend group sets the rules—or lack thereof.
A mask won’t directly affect your gambling skills, because it doesn’t usually have any negative health consequences. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about losing more money due to masks.
The only times that you really have to worry is if you have a breathing problem (e.g. COPD) or are irritated by a mask. A breathing condition may cause a panic attack or even leave you requiring medical assistance.
The irritation can occur through exhaled air going into your eyes. A mask could also simply be uncomfortable and create a psychological barrier between gambling success.
In summary, you’ll probably do just fine when playing at land-based casinos during the pandemic. However, you should also consider alternatives if you’re affected by a mask in any way.