The state has established safety rules for casinos in Illinois to follow once they reopen, but industry officials said it will be a different experience from what patrons enjoyed before the coronavirus pandemic.
The Illinois Gaming Board approved protocols for the state’s 10 casinos on Thursday.
While it didn’t give a date for when gambling operations can resume, the board did say what would be required and what wouldn’t be allowed.
Casino staples such as poker rooms, tabletop games and buffets won’t be allowed. As with many other types of COVID-19 rules, social distancing requirements of a six-foot gap between customers will be required.
“The dice will be cleaned between each person who rolls the dice, the chips will be cleaned every so often,” said Tom Swoik, executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. “In some card games, where it’s feasible, you will not be allowed to actually hold the cards.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker will decide when the casinos can reopen.
“The timing, conditions, and resumption of gaming are unknown at this time and will be based upon public health guidance and metrics and will proceed within the framework of Gov. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan,” Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Charles Schmadeke said.
The state brought in $1.35 billion in tax revenue from casinos in 2019. The reopening also represents the availability in sports wagering, since the first year of placing bets on games must first be established in person.