Louisiana's casino operators are just as antsy as anyone to get customers back in their facilities. While the monetary toll on Louisiana's business community has been staggering few industries have felt the gut-punch of the coronavirus quite the way our state's gaming facilities have felt them.

It's estimated we, the people, of Louisiana, have lost out on over $100 million in revenue that would have been paid from casino businesses to the state in the form of taxes since they were shut down in early March.

Louisiana Gaming Control Board Chairman Ronnie Jones is cautiously optimistic that as the coronavirus curve flattens in the state, gaming facilities will once again be able to open and host guests.

If the numbers continue to do what we hope they’re going to do and flatten out, perhaps by the end of the month.

Jones's comments were chronicled in a story published by KLFY TV.

But my question is more along the lines of what will a casino experience be like in "the new post coronavirus normal"?  Jones offered his thoughts on what that might look like.

Every other device will likely be disabled to provide for social distancing unless they put up something like a plexiglass barrier, some sort of panel between devices.

Okay, that's well and good. But what about "that player" we all know "that player" the one that squats across several machines playing two or three at a time? And, what about their "friend" that doesn't really have money to play but simply occupies what should be an empty seat between machines? Or what about that person that's too sick to go to work but feels well enough to try their luck? These are my concerns.

Jones did address concerns that card players might have moving forward in a post-pandemic world.

You’ll have less chairs available at poker tables and black jack tables. You’ll have less people participating in craps games just to provide for that social distancing. You’ll find most of the employees are probably going to be wearing masks and PPE’s, and there will be lots of sanitation and cleaning going on.

While I can find some comfort in Mr. Jones's hypothesis of how casinos might operate in the future, you'll forgive me if I am a little more pessimistic. Just to be clear, I am not concerned about the casino operators. They will do their part and do it better than most businesses when it comes to guest safety.

It's the guests, not all of them but some of them, that just flaunt the standards of personal space, poor hygiene, and a less than exemplary style of behavior that have me concerned. Hey, if we can't get people to follow the arrows on the floor of the grocery store I can only imagine how uncooperative they might be after a few drinks.

If we could figure out a way to improve that situation then I am "all in" for restarting the one-arm bandits and the video poker machines. I miss the fun and excitement that our state's casinos offer. I miss the concerts too. I know we're going to get there. We just can't seem to get there fast enough. 


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