On Monday, Gov. Jim Justice announced the newest initiatives on the West Virginia Strong – The Comeback plan. Week 5 of the plan begins next week on Tuesday, May 26. As a result, a lot of the state is opening back up.
The biggest news on the agenda is that WV casinos, as well as Limited Video Lottery (LVL) locations, will reopen for business in the very near future.
The Mountain State’s casinos are set to open their doors on Friday, June 5. LVL retailers can reopen about a week earlier, on Saturday, May 30.
While this is exciting news, the reopenings come with restrictive guidelines to keep everyone safe.
Regardless of the casino experience being slightly different, this is major news for operators and the state. Since WV doesn’t feature online casino betting yet, casinos haven’t seen any revenue since March 17 when Justice ordered all casinos closed.
Besides casinos, several other places residents go to enjoy themselves are listed to reopen next week. They include:
- State park cabins and lodges
- Indoor and outdoor bars
- Museums and visitor centers
- Spas and massage businesses
Let’s take a look at how casinos plan to reopen and what guests should expect when they return to their favorite gambling location.
The Return Of WV Sportsbooks
The reopening of casinos is great news for WV sports betting, as well.
Retail sportsbooks were closed when the casinos closed. Three online sportsbook apps in WV remained active during the lockdown:
Now that casinos are opening back up in WV, bettors can soon return to one of the five retail locations.
While this might not have been a successful transition for sportsbooks a few weeks ago, the revamped sports schedule works great for these reopenings.
Sportsbooks only featured a few betting markets during the stoppage, but now it appears that most sports are on their back.
This is perfect timing for WV sportsbooks, as they’ll begin to expand their market offerings as bettors return to casinos.
UFC 249 marked the first major sporting event played in the US. It was held on May 9, in Jacksonville, FL.
Since then, several other sports have returned. German soccer in the Bundesliga, NASCAR, and even some golf events came back this weekend.
Even so, many American sports fans are waiting for the NBA, NHL and MLB to get going.
Once sportsbooks have these options back on the boards, betting figures should start to return to where they were previously.
There’s more good news for those located outside of WV’s state borders, too.
Gov. Justice’s executive order that required out-of-state travelers to quarantine will not be in effect any longer.
As of Thursday, May 21, you can now enter WV freely and take advantage of any of the open businesses.
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Penn National Gaming Safety Protocols
In preparation for the reopening of casinos in WV, Penn National Gaming, the owner of Hollywood Casino in Charles Town, released its safety plan to combat the spread of COVID-19. It highlights how the casino is preparing to practice social distancing and other health precautions.
The company is working with health officials and state regulators to determine the best way to move forward.
It is probably no surprise that social distancing is crucial. Hollywood Casino will enforce its guests to keep a safe distance from one another through:
- Floor decals and signage in places where lines form
- Limited seating at table games
- A limited number of slot machines in operation
- No live music or entertainment
- Large drawings, tournaments, and events are limited
- Buffets will remain closed
- Limited restaurant offerings
Beyond casinos serving up a different customer experience, employees and management have several new rules in place, too.
Penn National properties are implementing the following to create the healthiest environment possible:
- Team members are required to wear masks
- Guests are encouraged to wear protection
- Slots and table games will be cleaned regularly
- A fog machine will be used to disinfect and sanitize the casino every night
- Sanitizer stations with cleaning supplies will be available throughout the casino
- Prior to working, all team members will undergo a health screening, including temperature checks
With all of these precautions in place, hopefully, casino guests and employees will feel safe to return to a place they love.
WV Sportsbooks Odds
Even though bettors must wait a few more weeks before entering the land-based sportsbooks, there is still action available for the WV sports betting crowd.
The NASCAR Cup Series is back in action this week with the Toyota 500 at Darlington. Currently, DraftKings features the following odds to win the race:
- Kevin Harvick +400
- Kyle Busch +650
- Denny Hamlin +800
- Martin Truex Jr. +800
- Alex Bowman +850
- Brad Keselowski +850
- Chase Elliott +900
- Joey Logano +1100
- Kurt Busch +1400
- Jimmie Johnson +1800