Casino Reopenings in Canada Post-Covid 19
Some are saying that the worst is over; others that it's still to come - in any case, gamblers may have started to miss heading out to their local casino, and we don't blame them for being on the lookout for news on casino reopenings in Canada and beyond. The good news is, things seem to be finally moving, with casino reopenings being a part of each province's gradual Post-Covid reopening plan. The bad news? Most Canadian land-based casinos are still closed shut. CanadaCasino has taken a look of the current situation and the developments in various provinces.
Land-Based Casino Reopenings in Canada
Every province in Canada has its own reopening plan, each of which shall unfold in separate stages. However, casinos are far from being among the first businesses to reopen, and for most citizens, the best alternative at the moment is to join one of the many Canadian online casinos which provide a totally safe gaming environment from a public health perspective!
Below is a brief outlook of casino reopening plans by province for those who prefer a brick-and-mortar experience.
Alberta - land-based casinos now open!
To start off with the good news, casinos in Alberta have already reopened, with various measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The doors to several casinos opened last Friday 12th June, after having been closed since the 17th of March
River Cree Casino opened with capacity limits, increased cleaning, barriers between slot machines and some other measures. All the games, with the exception of Blackjack and Poker, are open, and so are the restaurants.
Other casinos that have reopened in the last week include Century Casinos in St. Albert, Edmonton and Century Mile, and Pure Casino on Yellowhead Trail.
Nova Scotia - casinos reopening soon!
The operator behind land-based casinos in Halifax and Sydney, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation, has been given the green light to reopen just a couple of days ago, although there is no official date set. Residents should be able to visit the Casino Nova Scotia venues in Halifax and Sydney soon.
British Columbia - no timeline for reopening
According to Greg Moore, interim CEO of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC), there is no timeline for the reopening of casinos in British Columbia. Safety measures are being evaluated, and according to Moore, table games will be the last to reopen, given the increased risk due to the handling of chips and cards.
There are 27 casino venues in Ontario, and all of them have been closed temporarily by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) since March 16.
"The reopening of the casinos in Ontario will occur when it is permitted by the province," Tony Bitonti, OLG's Director of External Communications, declared (CBC).
Bitoni also mentioned the various measures that will be in place once the casinos do reopen, which include physical distancing of a minimum of two meters, the use of masks or other face coverings, the availability of sanitizers and increased cleaning of surfaces. Of course, some of these measures imply that fewer gamblers will be admitted inside.
Manitoba announced that some indoor venues such as Bingo halls and billiard rooms will be opening on June 21 as part of Phase 3. However, casinos are not in the list of venues to reopen yet.
Casinos in Quebec are still temporarily closed at the time of writing this article, and we currently have no news on any planned reopenings. The only form of land-based gaming available in the province are lottery sales terminals.
Saskatchewan plans to reopen casinos and Bingo halls during the second half of Phase 4 of its reopening plan. The province is currently at Phase 3, which has opened up restaurants, bars and outdoor gatherings. Phase 4 wil begin on June 22nd, so gamblers may not have too long to wait.
Prince Edward Island
It seems that land-based casinos will start welcoming customers again very soon here. Phase 4 of the reopening plan will begin on June 26, with and the reopening of casinos is included as part of this stage.
The Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall (Dawson City) is the only gaming establishment in Yukon. On June 12, the venue has announced that it's working closely with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Yukon Government with the aim of opening in the very near future.
There are no government-regulated casinos in the NorthWest Territories, and the province is still at Stage 2 of its reopening plan.
Casino Reopenings in the US
Meanwhile in the US, casinos in Las Vegas have opened up on the 4th of June, after 78 days in lockdown. The reopening was celebrated with fireworks and a water show at the Bellagio fountains. All protocols at each specific venue had to be approved by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, all casinos have opened with limited capacity and additional measures such as hand sanitizer stations, and the wearing of masks by casino staff. It's still not the Vegas we've grown to know, but at least things seem to be moving in the right direction, and thousands of gamblers have already flocked to sin city!
Other States saw casino reopenings far earlier than Vegas, as early as May 1st in Idaho. The first casino in Washington, the Northern Quest Casino, reopened on May 5th, whereas in Florida, Iowa, Missisippi, Pennsylvania, Missouri and West Virginia, all commercial casinos were allowed to reopen by the end of May (you can see a full list of States and casino reopenings here).
Clearly, Canada and the US are taking very different approaches to Post-Covid reopenings, with plans being far more gradual and stricter in Canada.
Online Casinos vs Land-based casinos
Nothing can beat the thrill of playing at a brick-and-mortar casino now and again. But of course, in these past months, gamblers have mostly resorted to online casino sites to enjoy slots and table games. Live casino games also make for a great alternative for those who love to play table games at land-based venues, since they enable players to interact with a live croupier in real-time while enjoying classic casino games like Roulette, Blackjack and Baccarat.
What's more, most players will find a greater variety of games at online casinos, and can generally benefit from bigger bonuses and promotions, given the fierce competition between online operators. Since online gambling laws in Canada do not prohibit residents from playing with offshore casino sites, the choice when it comes to playing real-money online is quite vast.