Ten casinos in Illinois were allowed to begin reopening for in-person gambling with some major changes on Wednesday.
The Illinois Gaming Board announced the reopening last month as the state continues to lift restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Under the new guidelines, in-person video and casino gaming can resume at 9 a.m. for the first time since March.
The reopening comes with plenty of changes for casinos in the state. There will be occupancy limits, social distancing guidelines, and more. Each facility was required to send an individual plan in order to reopen.
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Capacity will be limited to no more than 50%, seating will be reduced at gaming tables and there will be fewer slot machines under the new regulations. Face coverings and health screenings are required for all employees and guests, regulators say, while buffets and valet parking are among the elements not allowed to resume operations.
“The Gaming Board worked with the Governor’s Office, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to develop a gaming resumption process that protects the public health of patrons and employees, while restarting gaming activities in meaningful way,” Gaming Board Administrator Marcus Fruchter said in a statement on the announcement last month.
Most of Indiana's casinos reopened two weeks ago to long lines of people eager to gamble. Illinois is hoping to see the same, as casinos generate millions of dollars in state tax revenue.
Illinois moved into phase four of its reopening plan on Friday, expanding capacity restrictions and reopening several shuttered businesses.