Pennsylvania poker rooms won’t be permitted to reopen along with the casinos, per the state’s Gaming Control Board.
No date has been set on when the casinos will be allowed to reopen. Many anticipate that this could occur within the next couple of weeks, possibly as early as June 1. But when they do, there won’t be any poker games available. Residents of the Keystone State will have to continue playing cards online. Or, they’ll have to cross the border to New Jersey to get some action, assuming those card rooms are in operation.
The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Wednesday released its minimum protocols that casinos must follow upon reopening. The regulations contain some drastic changes of which gamblers and, especially poker players, should be aware.
Pennsylvania Poker Rooms Out … for Now
The gaming board released a 10-page memo that included some bad news for Pennsylvania poker players itching to play some cards.
“Poker rooms are not authorized to operate due to players handling cards and chips,” the document stated.
The stringent poker requirements appear to partially contradict new research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). According to a recent Fox News article, research indicates that the coronavirus doesn’t spread easily on contaminated surfaces.
“COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads. It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads,” the CDC said in a public statement.
The virus, per the CDC, spreads primarily from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Hence, the reason health experts recommend social distancing.
Pennsylvania has 25 poker rooms statewide, none of which will be permitted to reopen along with the casinos. The state’s gaming board says that doesn’t mean poker rooms will be shut-down permanently. Live poker in the state will be reexamined by the GCB based upon guidance from health officials.
Changes Coming to Casino Operations
When the casinos in PA reopen, without poker of course, gamblers will notice some major changes. Before entering the casinos, staff members are required to look for signs of ill patrons. Should a guest display high temperatures, a cough, etc., they won’t be permitted to enter the casino.
Casinos will be required to place signs on the floor that encourage guests to remain six feet apart. Patrons will also be encouraged to wear face masks, and plexiglass barriers will separate many slot machines.