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As states ease coronavirus restrictions, young gamblers could flock to casinos

Shawn M. Carter

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Young gamblers might be the first to hit the slots as coronavirus-closed casinos reopen.

A May report from Las Vegas-based software firm Synergy Blue found 62 percent of U.S. gamblers ages 29 and younger said they would return to casinos as soon as stay-at-home orders are lifted. Just 40 percent of those aged 60 or over, by comparison, said the same.

Overall, 51 percent of the 1,000 respondents surveyed said that they would gamble in casinos after they reopen. The online poll included 1,000 U.S. gamblers.

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“The casino industry has been hit hard by the crisis and, with high levels of uncertainty surrounding the long-term impact, it’s difficult to map out the best path forward,” Synergy Blue Chief Executive Officer Georg Washington said in a statement.

“Our goal with this report is to provide the industry with resources and insight into what gamblers would like to see and, more importantly, what they expect from casinos when they return. Together, we can rebuild our industry, but … we’ll need to reshape it to fit the changed preferences of our biggest supporters: the gamers and gamblers themselves.”

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While Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has yet to announce an official reopening date for Las Vegas casinos, those in Arizona have begun reopening with safety measures geared at stopping the spread of the virus. Staff are required to wear face covers and encourage guests to social distance.

Hard Rock International may reopen some Florida casinos with new coronavirus safety measures as soon as the end of May.

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Other non-casino companies operating during the pandemic have offered a glimpse at what gathering could look like post-virus. Shopping mall operator Simon Property Group, for example, said it would reopen roughly 50 percent of its properties with measures in place to slow the spread of the virus, including limiting store hours, reducing foot traffic and providing face covers and stripping some chairs from gathering areas to encourage social distancing.

Another company, Hilton, in anticipating customers returning, partnered with the maker of Lysol and consulted with the Mayo Clinic COVID-19 Response Team to develop enhanced cleaning procedures. Meanwhile, Airbnb is enforcing stricter protocols, requiring rentals to stay vacant for at least 24 hours between checkout and a new reservation. Other retailers like Amazon and Walmart are enforcing temperature checks for employees.

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