The casinos in Alberta, Canada were shut down in March 2020 to stop the spread of COVID – 19 but they are now being reopened with a full set of health and safety measures in place. The Alberta Health officials confirmed on Thursday that table games at the casinos can resume their operations. The casinos were closed down on March 17 after the declaration of a health emergency by the Government of Alberta by which all casinos, bingo hall operations and racing centers were closed down.
The Alberta Government had no choice but to allow casino tables to reopen as there has been a serious decline in revenues this year. As the casinos were forcibly closed down for around 90 days between March and June to arrest the spread of COVID – 19, the government predicted a shortfall of USD 900 million in gaming revenue. The state expects a total revenue earning of USD 500 million which is much lower than the estimated USD 1.4 billion prior to the pandemic.
The casinos were allowed to reopen in June but the ban on table games was still in place. The slots and the video lottery terminals were kept 2m apart and were separated by a physical barrier. The government took a decision to revoke the ban on table games as there were no spikes of a virus spread as it was contained. However, the casinos have been given a set of instructions and rules by which they must adhere to maintain the health and safety of the employees and the customers. Some of the casinos are prepared to resume immediately while a few may require some more time to resume operations; the River Cree Resort & Casino will be reopening the table games on Friday.