The southern American state of Louisiana is reportedly planning to allow its 23 casinos to begin re-opening from Monday after temporarily closing down the venues on March 17 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Tuesday report from the Bloomberg news service, Louisiana is the fifth most lucrative casino market in the United States behind only Nevada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York with the move set to serve as an early test of the sector’s ability to bounce back from the negative impacts of coronavirus.
The news service cited Ronnie Jones, Chairman for the Louisiana Gaming Control Board, as stating that casinos will be required to gain the permission of local law enforcement authorities before re-opening and agree to abide by a raft of new social distancing measures that are certain to include protective face masks for employees and the regular cleaning of high-traffic surfaces such as door handles, elevator buttons and slot machine screens.
Bloomberg reported that Louisiana is home to 20 commercial casinos as well as a trio of tribal counterparts that recorded aggregated gross gaming revenues of just over $2.56 billion for the entirety of 2018. It moreover detailed that the move will make ‘The Pelican State’ the first of the nation’s ‘big’ gambling markets to re-open post-pandemic following the earlier revival of a few aboriginal venues in the smaller markets of Washington, Oklahoma, Idaho and South Dakota.
Las Vegas-headquartered Caesars Entertainment Corporation is responsible for three properties in Louisiana encompassing the Harrah’s Louisiana Downs, Horseshoe Bossier City and Harrah’s New Orleans venues. It reportedly told Bloomberg that this latter facility may not be included in the first raft of revivals as New Orleans had experienced a comparably large outbreak of coronavirus although casinos it manages in Arizona and North Carolina are due to re-open from tomorrow and Monday respectively.
In related news and Tom Reeg, Chief Executive Officer for Reno-based Eldorado Resorts Incorporated, reportedly told Bloomberg that the coronavirus-related lockdown has delayed his firm’s planned merger with Caesars Entertainment Corporation but that he still expects the $17.3 billion deal to close in July at the latest.