British Columbia casino hotspots might have to remain closed for longer than initially projected, as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry recently highlighted. The official reopening of gaming halls and casinos sprinkled across the province is not likely to happen in the foreseeable future. Those venues might be the last to reopen for in-person gaming once businesses return back to life.
British Columbia Lottery Corporation mandated the lockdown of brick-and-mortar casino venues mid-March as this was the way to go and protect players. Casino venues have all different and unique layouts of their casino floors and social distancing appeared to be hard to achieve. Slot machines and table games are all areas of high traffic and people gather around them while gaming.
Keeping brick-and-mortar casinos open during the unprecedented situation would have caused more damage than good, which is why the Crown corporation mandated their closure. Right now, all provinces and territories of Canada have their casino venues closed for business and this closure is indefinite. Across the United States, a conversation about casino reopening has launched.
This triggered the conversation north, as many casino employees look forward to returning to their workplaces and continuing their regular life. However, British Columbia is not expected to see the return of in-person gambling anytime soon, as it was recently clarified. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry spoke on the subject during the daily update regarding the provincial situation. For the time being, reopening casinos is not on the table.
Dr. Henry made it clear that casino venues and gambling halls might be the last businesses to reopen once this process commences in the upcoming months. It would be a regulated process with tons of preparation that would aim to protect patrons’ health and maintain social distancing at all costs. This could include reducing the number of slot machines on the casino floor, as well as introducing new rules around the table games.
Dr. Henry further pointed out that the very nature of a casino venue is to be enclosed and rather cozy, with many slot machines in clusters, as well as crowded gaming tables with up to ten individuals surrounding them at a time. Moreover, the clientele of these gaming hotspots is often consisting of seniors drawn by the gaming thrill and nevertheless, by the social factor of the pastime activity.
Bingo halls are frequented by many seniors having a chat for hours with likeminded people of their age. At the moment, some 19 casino venues and 20 bingo halls are under lockdown in British Columbia. Their quarterly gaming revenue allocations are about to be affected by the nonexistent gaming operation and the impact would be felt in July 2020, when the next allocations to the city coffers would take place.
Some communities such as Kamloops have raised the question regarding online gaming revenue, which has remained the only legal gambling opportunity available at the moment. Communities would like to receive a share of the online gaming revenue their residents have generated during the lockdown. They would have to officially apply for such allocation in the upcoming weeks.