Ready, Set, OH! Gov. DeWine Says Ohio Casinos And Racinos Can Reopen In 2 Weeks

Posted on June 8, 2020 - Last Updated on June 5, 2020

Ohio casinos reopening may take place as soon as June 19. Exactly what that entails remains to be a fluid situation, however.

On Friday, OH Gov. Mike DeWine tweeted that the state’s casinos and racinos can resume operations in two weeks.

Ohio casinos reopening plans

There are protocols from DeWine’s office and the Ohio Department of Health that apply to gaming facilities in the Buckeye State.

Following “Responsible RestartOhio,” the state offices provided a sector fact sheet for casinos and racinos.

Several additional guidelines could apply to various properties at gaming facilities, including bars, restaurants, and salons.

Employees must maintain six feet of social distance while performing their job duties. In areas where that isn’t possible, it mandates barriers between them. The requirements also include face masks for employees and hand sanitizer stations in high-traffic areas.

Although the order doesn’t require customers to wear face masks, it does recommend them. The state also requires businesses to establish maximum occupancies of 50% of the fire code and stagger the entry of guests.

Customers will have access to hand sanitizer, too. The health recommendations mandate that no more than three players can occupy the same table and that casinos reconfigure their slot machines to allow for distancing.

So far, the Ohio Casino Control Commission has issued no further guidance; however, it may change over the next two weeks. If not, casino and racino operators will be left to their own devices.

To date, individual OH casinos or racinos have not announced reopening dates yet. Furthermore, it’s uncertain whether two weeks is a sufficient amount of time for these facilities to get in line with safe operational practices.

Casinos in other states, like Michigan, have mandated customers to wear face masks and submit to temperature screenings. Over the next two weeks, each gaming facility operator will make these decisions.

Enthusiasm for gaming survives the shutdown

In other parts of the country, enhanced health and safety protocols haven’t kept gamblers homebound. For example, one casino in Mississippi saw a robust turnout on Memorial Day weekend.

If OH casinos and racinos see similar success, that could bode well for Detroit’s trio of commercial casinos. Right now, there isn’t a tentative date for them to reopen.

Success in OH could cause MI Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to lean toward giving them clearance sooner rather than later. That may depend on the progress with other businesses in the Wolverine State, however.

Regardless of what happens in MI, casinos in Ohio now have a target date. Ohioans who want to get back to gambling should circle June 19 on their calendars.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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