Derby Lane has reversed course and will not reopen its poker room on May 11.
Greyhound Racing Resumes Friday, No Poker Allowed
The St. Petersburg, Florida, racino posted on its Facebook page Tuesday that “after further review, Derby Lane will remain closed to the public.”
The facility will host live racing beginning on Friday, but spectators won’t be allowed on the property. Instead, patrons can watch the races and place bets online.
When the Poker Room does reopen you can expect us to adhere to all CDC guidelines, as well as implement health and safety precautions for employees and patrons alike,” the notice says. “We look forward to bringing our employees back to work, and inviting patrons back to Historic Derby Lane. Until then, please stay healthy Tampa Bay.”
A Quick Reversal
The change of plans came just two days after Derby Lane said it would reopen its poker room in a limited fashion on Monday, May 11, making it the first US poker room to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To comply with social distancing requirements, Derby Lane planned to run 6-max games using just 13 of its 52 poker tables. Players would also be required to wear face masks and either wear gloves or use hand sanitizer. Players who wouldn’t comply with those guidelines would have been asked to leave the property, a spokeswoman said.
Precautions aside, some question whether it’s safe to play live poker right now.
Facebook user Vince Giardina posted on the Derby Lane page after the poker room announced its reopening that “just the dirty environment and closeness of it all is not a good scenario at this time to be open. I would love to play again … but not under these circumstances.”
In Europe, King’s Resort announced it will open its three properties and their respective poker rooms in the Czech Republic on Monday. That country appears to have flattened its COVID-19 curve, with fewer than 260 total deaths and less than 80 new reported cases on Tuesday.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board released guidelines for casinos in that state last week that mandate no more than four players per table when the facilities reopen, but it’s unclear when that will occur. As of Wednesday morning, the US had more than 1.2 million cases of COVID-19 with more than 72,000 deaths.