Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Missouri Gaming Commission Chairman Mike Leara says the state will allow its 13 floating casinos to reopen at 12:01 a.m. June 1. Local health departments could have additional restrictions for casinos.
“I believe that the casinos all were ready to open,” says Leara. “I think it’s going to be interesting to see how it opens when they open on Monday and if all 13 are allowed to open by their local officials. I believe that St. Louis City and St. Charles County are welcoming the opening and return of patrons. I have not spoken to others but I plan to visit a casino or two to see how it’s going, to see that social distancing and the crowds are kept at acceptable levels and I expect it to be.”
The commission is not imposing any occupancy limits. Casinos are expected to follow health measures, including personal protective equipment for employees and maybe customers, disinfecting of frequently used items, closing every other slot machine, and removing every other seat at a gaming table.
Leara says Missouri Gaming Commission civilian staff and state troopers who are normally required at casinos will be there to monitor.
“If there’s any issue, we’re not going to be making arrests or things like that,” says Leara. “But if they feel that the guidelines are not being followed, then they’ll call that to the attention of the management of the casino, which has always been responsive to our requests.”
The casinos have been closed since mid-March when the coronavirus started spreading across Missouri – costing the state about $1 million in revenue for each day the lights are off.
Riverboat casinos are located in St. Louis, St. Charles, Kansas City, St. Joseph in northwest Missouri, central Missouri’s Boonville, La Grange in northeast Missouri, and southeast Missouri’s Caruthersville and Cape Girardeau.
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