Casinos across Maryland are busy in re-configuring and sanitizing their gaming floors in anticipation of reopening as the state’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan has announced that the gambling properties can soon resume operations with a string of health safety measures.
Earlier this week, Gov. Hogan announced that restrictions placed in response to the deadly COVID-19 pandemic could be lifted over the next couple of weeks to allow non-essential businesses to reopen their doors to the members of the public after months of shutdown caused by the pandemic.
The Republican Governor’s office has already given green signal for casinos and indoor shopping malls to reopen as soon as 19th June. However, local governments and health authorities must also permit each gambling property to reopen.
While the Maryland Lottery & Gaming Control Agency has not issued reopening guidelines for the state casinos to follow, MGM National Harbor and Live casinos have already revealed their plans to defend their guests and employees against the corona virus pandemic. The safeguards will include mandatory face masks, installation of plexiglasses at gaming tables, reduction in floor capacity, rearrangement of slot machines, along with regular deep cleanings. While face masks would be compulsory for employees, visitors would be strongly encouraged but not forced to wear face masks.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the infectious disease expert for the US government, has cautioned that people must remain vigilant in dealing with the corona virus pandemic. He said, “Where is it going to end? We’re still at the beginning of really understanding.”
Maryland is home to half a dozen commercial casinos, namely MGM National Harbor Live, Hollywood Casino Perryville, Rocky Gap Casino Resort, Ocean Downs Casino and Horseshoe Casino Baltimore. All of these casinos have been closed since 16th of March, when the state governor issued “stay-at-home” order in a bid to help mitigate corona virus transmissions.
The lengthy closure of Maryland casinos caused hefty losses for the entertainment properties as well as the state. Maryland casinos collectively reported $1.76 billion in revenue for the fiscal year of 2019, while the state’s Education Trust received $542.7 million in taxes on the casinos’ gross gaming revenue (GGR). But, the same casinos lost $372.5 million in GGR in the 2020 fiscal year, resulting in $149 million fewer tax dollars for education.