It has been months since live poker rooms in the Keystone were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Poker enthusiasts in the state have had to settle for online gambling options but for avid live poker game grinders, those just did not cut it. It is, therefore, going to be an understatement if we say that they have been eagerly waiting for the return of the poker rooms. Well, it seems like that time has finally come.
Earlier this week, we got the very first announcements of planned poker room reopening in Pennsylvania. These announcements were made by Mount Airy Casino Resort and Mohegan Sun Pocono. Both venues are home to some of the state’s most popular live poker rooms.
According to Mohegan Sun Pocono Director of Gaming Sunil Mukul, they have received an overwhelming “number of guest inquiries related to when poker may reopen.” This is more than enough proof of the huge demand for such offerings. Officials from Penn National Gaming also acknowledged the demand for their services and they will be reopening soon. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino could reopen as soon as October 23 if everything goes according to plan.
Reopening Under Strict Guidelines
As expected, all of the reopening plans are subject to the approval of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB). COVID-19’s impact is still being felt and no one wants any more infections to be recorded due to the reopening of the live poker rooms. These were largely considered to be a significant safety risk.
As the live poker rooms start operating again, they will all be required to follow strict health and safety standards. These are meant to supplement the already existing guidelines that casino operators in the state are supposed to adhere to.
Mohegan Sun, for instance, will limit the poker tables to just seven players in a bid to optimize the space for social distancing – plexiglass will be added between them for even more protection. In addition to that, all the players and the dealers will be required to wear masks. There will also be no food at the tables and all the spaces will undergo regular cleaning and sanitizing.
Strong Rebound Expected
As much as the coronavirus pandemic may have significantly impacted the Keystone State’s gambling sector, the industry has generally had a pretty strong rebound. Case in point, July and August revenues were up compared to the same periods last year. The poker rooms should be no different. Live poker rooms do not generally generate as much revenue as other gambling verticals. Even so, they are certainly a vital part of the gambling culture hence the strong demand. Its return should therefore be pretty good, to say the least.