Guidelines developed for reopening Indiana casinos

(Photo supplied/Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians)

(INDIANAPOLIS) — There’s no timeline yet for Indiana casinos to reopen, but there are now guidelines for what they’ll have to do.

The Indiana Gaming Commission has issued five pages of guidelines for casinos on how to protect workers and gamblers from coronavirus. Casinos will have capacity limits based on the number of gaming positions, capped at no more than half their normal capacity. They’ll have to enforce reconfigure the gaming floor to keep people six feet apart, closing off enough machines and tables to make that possible.

Poker rooms will stay closed, while other table games will have strictly enforced limits on how many people can play at once: no more than three blackjack players at a time, four at the roulette wheel, or six at the craps table. Commission deputy director Jennifer Reske says the commission studied those games and concluded that was the most who could participate while still remaining six feet apart. She says there wasn’t any way to enforce that distancing at the poker table.

Casinos will also have to limit smoking to a designated smoking area. All workers will have to wear masks — masks will be recommended for patrons, and required if they’re playing table games.

The guidelines also set disinfecting requirements for gaming equipment: chips must be disinfected every two hours, dice with every new shooter, and slots and other video gaming machines after each player leaves. Cards will have to be replaced at the start of each shift.

Reske says casinos will stay closed at least through June 14 — that’s two more phases of Governor Holcomb’s reopening roadmap. Casinos will have to submit a detailed plan for how they’ll meet the new requirements a week before reopening. Reske says the commission hasn’t discussed what the next phase of reopening will look like.

The commission ordered all casinos to close March 16, eight days before Holcomb’s stay-home order for the rest of the state.

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