Loto-Québec, the division of the Quebec government whose responsibilities in the province include regulation of any form of gambling has scheduled a re-opening of casinos with restrictions in place to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loto-Québec is also laying off 2,250 employees and introducing the freezing of all wages and a freeze on hiring. These lay offs correspondent with the drop in revenue that is directly associated with COVID-19.
Casinos have been shut down in Quebec since March but many of these are scheduled to reopen in July, with restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19..
Some of the new rules will involve social distancing measures, these will include protective panels between players at blackjack and other table games.
Gamblers will be given rubber-tipped pens to avoid touching slot machines and there will be “no handling of cards or chips by the customer.”
Masks will be mandatory for all clients and employees. One of the limiting factors which is directly tied to a foreseen drop in revenue is that only 250 people will be allowed inside the smaller casinos.
Larger casinos, like Lac-Leamy Casino and the Montreal Casino will be able to accommodate 1,000 and 1,500 people respectively, as long as the crowds are contained in different “sectors.”
Extra cleaning measures will be in place in order to reduce the risk of the virus spreading. Opening hours will be reduced and extra cleaning measures will be put in place, including the cleaning of gaming machines between customers.
While many people are excited about the casinos reopening, there are lukewarm responses to the gambling atmosphere. Some players are reporting they will be playing exclusively at Canadian Online Casinos until social distancing rules are removed.
Dates for reopening:
- July 13 – Hilton Lac-Leamy.
- July 16 – Casino de Charlevoix, Casino de Mont-Tremblant, Salon de jeux de Québec, Salon de jeux de Trois-Rivières.
- July 23 – Casino du Lac-Leamy.
- August 3 – Casino de Montréal.