It’s been almost two months since all of the casinos in Oklahoma closed their doors to the public. Many gaming analysts had questions about how popular these venues would be once they reopened. Some have recently started to accept guests again and it appears many are enjoying having their local casinos back.
The past two months have been some of the toughest in the history of the US casino industry. Fortunately, it appears that things may finally be improving. Today, we’re going to look at how Oklahoma’s casino industry is doing as it slowly begins to reopen.
Let’s get into it!
States Are Slowly Beginning to Reopen Casinos
The US land-based casino industry was forced to shut down weeks ago. Health officials around the country successfully argued that keeping gambling venues open to the public presented a serious health risk. As time goes on and cases of Covid-19 begin to drop, however, several states have begun allowing casinos to open back up.
That includes casinos in Oklahoma. As many know, Oklahoma is home to one of the largest Native American casino industries in the United States. Forcing casinos to close here immediately had a serious impact on the state’s economy.
Officials in Oklahoma realized it was important to reopen casinos. These venues employ a huge number of individuals and provide valuable revenue to many parts of the state. It now seems like every day, more casinos here are beginning to accept guests again.
Louisiana and Mississippi are also set to reopen their casino industries. To the surprise of many, casinos in Louisiana will open back up on Friday, albeit with heavy social distancing measures set in place. It’s not entirely clear when Mississippi’s casinos will reopen, yet Governor Reeves is aiming for Memorial Day.
Nevada is taking its time allowing casinos to open again. Leaders here recognize how important the gambling industry is, yet they want to avoid a surge in new infections. Many believe the major casino-resorts in Las Vegas will be up and running by June.
Some felt that even after reopening, casinos would have a difficult time bringing in players. That doesn’t appear to be the case in Oklahoma.
Casinos in Oklahoma Are Already Drawing in Large Crowds
There are many casinos now spread around the state of Oklahoma. Some of these venues are just finally beginning to reopen. Several major gaming analysts predicted that revenue would be slow to recover, however, as many would be unwilling to visit a casino due to concerns over safety.
Some of these analysts may be forced to change their minds. On Monday, the Thunderbird Casino in Shawnee held a soft opening to the public. Incredibly, there were hundreds of individuals waiting outside before the casino even opened its doors.
Jenny Mitchell, a regular casino player in Oklahoma, expressed her delight in seeing this venue resume its operations.
“I’ve been waiting for it to open,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been waiting this whole time and I’ve been coming here since they opened.”
Of course, things will be a little different here than they were in the past. Guests are already having their temperature taken before entering the casino. There are also strict distancing measures set in place on slots and table games.
It’s a great sign for other casinos in Oklahoma that have yet to reopen. The Thunderbird Casino is making it clear that guests still want to play inside a brick and mortar venue. Hopefully, enough revenue is earned to keep all of the casinos here above ground.
Las Vegas Casinos Start Releasing Reopening Plans
As we’ve already mentioned, Nevada has yet to formally allow casinos to start opening up again. Governor Steve Sisolak has been hesitant to reopen the state economy, much to the dismay of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. Fortunately, casinos in this state seem to have come up with safe guidelines to start operating again.
Not long ago, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved these reopening plans. It was a huge moment for the state and many casino companies immediately began setting dates to accept guests.
This week, several major casinos in Las Vegas released their casino plans. All of these venues are working hard to ensure their staff and patrons stay as safe as possible. Much like casinos in Oklahoma, all of the gaming venues in Las Vegas will require strict social distancing.
The conversation is now shifting to how many visitors will start traveling to Las Vegas. Tourism here has dropped to the lowest levels in history. Many may be unwilling to board a flight right now with concerns about the coronavirus.
As we’ve seen in Oklahoma, however, there are many that will take the risk. People around the country may be looking for an escape after being in lockdown for weeks. Perhaps this will result in a huge surge of visitors to the Las Vegas casinos.
It’s an interesting time for the gambling industry. Make sure to stay tuned for updates on the situation in Las Vegas over the next few weeks!