Rhode Island Casinos Reopen After Three-Week Closure

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With Rhode Island’s three-week shutdown over, Bally’s Corporation has reopened its two casinos in Lincoln and Tiverton effective Monday, December 21, 2020.

Table games, slot machines, stadium gaming, and virtual table games are now open at the Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln and the Tiverton Casino Hotel property. But while the racebook in Lincoln is also now operational, the one at Tiverton is still closed. Lincoln’s poker room will remain closed and the same also goes for the two hotels, Event Center in Lincoln, Valet, Entertainment offerings, and some restaurants.

Both properties will be operating from from 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. from Sundays to Thursdays and 6:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. during Fridays and Saturdays.

Said Marc Crisafulli, Executive Vice president of Bally’s Corporation and president of its Rhode Island casinos:

“We are incredibly excited to welcome back our guests to both of our Rhode Island casinos and to do so in a safe manner. The health and safety of our customers and employees continues to be our priority and we wish to underscore that all safety and health protocols remain in place.”

Reopening Protocols

With Rhode Island still having one of the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the United States, Bally’s Corporation has established reopening protocols to protect their guests and employees. These include temperature checking, the mandatory wearing of facemasks inside the properties.

If a guest does not have a face mask, the Rhode Island casino will provide one for him/her. Temperature checking will be done via non-invasive thermal cameras or temporal thermometer. Guests or employees who have a temperature of above 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to enter the casino premises. As for employees Twin River employees will be screened daily and those who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to work on that particular day.

Social Distancing Measures

Likewise, the Rhode Island casinos are implementing strict social distancing measures. Guests are not permitted to be within less than six feet from other guests not belonging to their party. The same distance must be maintained while standing in lines, using ATMS, elevators, kiosks, or moving around the casino floor.

Slot machines are also separated six feet apart as are stadium gaming, or virtual table games. The food court will be open but it will also have limited seating capacity. Meanwhile, beverages will be served using disposable cups. Plexiglass barriers also separate players.

Twin River Could Lay Off 1,300 Workers Next Month

Twin River Casino
Twin River has notified the Rhode Island labor officials that it could be laying off a total of 1,300 employees next month .

According to Twin River spokeswoman Patti Doyle, the company filed a layoff notice with the State Department of Labor and Training last August 11th. Doyle clarified that 1,043 furloughs in Lincoln, and another 296 in Tiverton are set to become permanent at the end of next month.

Doyle added that the workers who are facing layoff are currently furloughed by the company and they continue to receive health insurance benefits. She added that the number of workers let go could still change, depending on the on the business conditions at that time.

Numbers Could Still Change

In a call with analysts, Twin River CEO George Papanier revealed that the company tried to bring back as many employees as possible after the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of their establishments. However, he said that with the current restrictions they are faced with since reopening, they don’t know how many will ultimately be brought back. Said Papanier:

“While we have been able to welcome back a large percentage of those affected, there are still a large number of employees affected on furlough while we await the ability to increase capacity and amenities.”

Last August 11th, Twin River reported a $24M second quarter loss as a result of the casinos being forced to shutdown in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and also by the decreased capacity it has operated with since they were allowed to reopen.

Rhode Island Slow to Recover

However, CEO Papanier said that Twin River is pleased with the results they have seen since they were allowed to reopen in June. Out of their $24M Q2 loss, only $2M came in the month of June and the initial figures for the month of July were encouraging for a return to profitability. Added Papanier:

“While we continue to be willing to spend money to capture market share and drive revenue, we don’t expect to simply return to the old way of doing business. We believe many of the efficiencies we have realized are sustainable over the long term and will result in improved profitability for our properties even while increased sanitation and cleaning costs become the norm.”

Business in the South and West casinos of Twin River have picked up faster than their Rhode Island flagship with states like Colorado and Mississippi faster to ease COVID-19 health restrictions. However, Twin River Rhode Island President of Operations Marc Crisafulli is optimistic because he hopes that they will be allowed to return to 24-hour operations in the coming weeks.