Finally, after months of shutting down, WV casinos are set to reopen at the end of the week. On Friday, June 5, every retail casino in West Virginia can open its doors and start accepting wagers again.
Thanks to Gov. Justice’s initiative, West Virginia Strong – The Comeback, the state is starting to return to normal.
Every casino, as well as a number of movie theaters, are scheduled to reopen as part of Week 6 of the plan. Lots of other businesses have already begun the process of opening their doors again.
While it’s understandable that the state’s leaders wanted to open things back up slowly, this is a big week for WV. Not only will residents get to visit their favorite casino after months of self-isolating, but the state will also start seeing revenue from betting once again.
The only source of profits over the last few months has been from WV’s online sports betting apps. Even though there haven’t been many markets available, each mobile platform continues to take wagers.
Online options include:
The reopening of land-based casinos also means that retail sportsbooks are back, too.
Since Mountaineer, Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island don’t feature an online sportsbook, this will be their first time taking bets since March.
Although bettors can return to casinos this weekend, there is an emphasis on safety. All of the casinos, employees and guests must practice additional safety measures during this time.
This includes social distancing, along with several other protocols both when entering and inside the casino.
Let’s take a look at every retail casino in WV and everything you need to know before visiting your favorite betting location.
The state’s largest place to gamble, Hollywood Casino, is set to reopen on Friday at 8 a.m. While it was previously open 24 hours a day, it’s required to close for a few hours daily, now.
A deep clean and sanitization process will be conducted between 4 a.m. – 8 a.m.
Both table games and slot machines will look a little different than usual. Slots will be positioned so that social distancing requirements are met. Table games will also feature a maximum occupancy limit based on which game.
All table games will be non-smoking. There will be a new non-smoking area within the gaming floor, as well.
The Eatery will have limited selections. Guests can purchase prepackaged sandwiches, drinks, and snacks from the restaurants.
The Inn at Charles Town will remain closed for now.
Every guest is encouraged to wear a mask and have to respond to a health screening before entering the casino. Besides a temperature check, customers may be asked the following:
- Have you been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case?
- Are you experiencing a cough, sore throat, or shortness of breath?
- Have you had a fever in the last 48 hours?
- Do you have a new loss of taste or smell?
- Have you had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours?
Only 50% of the regular capacity can be filled under new regulations. There may only be a few entry doors available, too.
Unfortunately, Hollywood’s poker room and sportsbook are still temporarily closed. Hollywood’s online sports betting app, DraftKings Sportsbook, however, is open and accepting wagers.
The Greenbrier, the state’s only private casino, has plenty of precautions in place for its guests to remain safe.
Masks are not required for customers by law, however, they are encouraged anytime in the casino. If you’re already wearing a mask, you’ll be asked to remove it for a moment when verifying your age and identity.
Similar to Hollywood, slot machines will be turned off or repositioned so social distancing can occur. Slots will also be sanitized at least once every four hours.
Table games will include the same rules.
Chairs will be removed and only every other table will be open for play. Table game rails, as well as used chairs, will get sanitized by supervisors as guests leave.
Card dealers are now prepared to do a bit of cleaning, as well. They will sanitize dice, buttons and card shoes throughout their shifts.
Supervisors have an enhanced role in cleaning other games, too. Everything from shufflers to roulette wheels, balls and money paddles will be sanitized throughout the day.
While The Greenbrier’s employees are working hard to keep the facility clean, guests must do their part.
Customers should stay socially distant from others whenever possible and must maintain six feet of separation when in line at the casino cage. Spacing identifiers will be marked on the floor.
The casino floor will also include hand-sanitizing stations that everyone should use.
Mountaineer Casino will resume taking wagers this Friday, June 5. With Gov. Justice’s guidance, the casino is planning to reopen slowly.
Only 50% capacity will be allowed to enter. Once inside, there won’t be as many games available as normal.
Every other slot machine will be turned on and just some table games will be offered when the casino opens back up.
Dining will be limited, too. Just a few eateries will open initially.
The only entrance to the casino at this time is though hotel entry. Guests looking to come inside will be required to have their temperatures checked.
Again, masks are not mandatory, however, you are recommended to wear one.
Another difference customers might notice is barriers located around the casino. Certain areas around the casino floor and lobby will feature protective barriers.
Gambling inside the casino should be the same for the most part, but there are a few changes.
Anyone looking to play a table game must wear a mask in order to sit down. Mountaineer will not provide face coverings, so bring your own mask.
These games will also be non-smoking for the time being, as well.
Even though the sportsbook appears it will open with the rest of the casino, the poker room is still closed until further notice.
The casino won’t be open all day, either. Although Mountaineer is set to start taking bets again, the casino is only open from 10 a.m. – 2 a.m. right now.
Mountaineer general manager Jason Pugh talked about the importance of making the casino safe for guests. According to WKBN, he said:
“We want to make sure that we have the safest environment for our players to come back to. I think once they come in and see that we’ve taken all the initiatives and safety protocols, I think they will definitely have a safety feeling about Mountaineer.”
Mardi Gras Casino And Wheeling Island
Like the other casinos in the state, Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island will be forced to close at 2 a.m. each morning.
They will also only allow in 50% of their full capacity during this reopening phase.
Unfortunately, these two casinos will not be offering any sort of table games at this time. Slot machines will be available, but they will be reduced.
One area the casinos do differ is with food options.
At Mardi Gras, you’re able to purchase items from the to-go menu offered at the sports bar. Inside Wheeling Island, the Pointe Sea & Steak restaurant, along with the buffet and food court are all closed. Food and drink choices will be very limited.
The Lucky North Club will include limited hours at both locations. It should also be noted that both hotels are currently closed, as well.
Those visiting the casino are in good hands, though. Mardi Gras and Wheeling Island implemented a new program called Play It Safe before reopening this week.
The initiative is aimed at keeping health and safety standards high so that guests and employees can enjoy gambling in a safe environment.
It’s based around creating new operating procedures that reduce contact risk. These hygiene protocols “meet or exceed best-practice guidelines of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
Of course, this means that guests must practice social distancing throughout their casino experience, while employees apply their new training. An on-site Clean Team has also been created.
One major difference for these casinos involves masks. Guests must have a mask or a similar face covering to enter the casinos.