An empty row of slot machines
(Getty)
  • South African casinos hope to open their doors again soon, with 1 July being floated as a plausible date, Moneyweb reports.
  • Casinos believe their existing access control measures will make it relatively easy to check patrons for symptoms and place limits on the number of people on a gambling floor.
  • One planned distancing measure is to turn off every second slot machine.
  • Casinos around the world are reopening, or considering doing so, with masks, hand-washing stations, and dividers as viral transmission mitigation measures.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

South African casinos believe they'll be able to open their doors to the public again soon, probably within a couple of weeks, though gambling floors may look a little different, Moneyweb reported on Friday.

There "is no reason" why casinos can't open again on 1 July, Tsogo Sun Gaming CEO Chris du Toit told Moneyweb journalist Suren Naidoo. And there are indications that the government "want the sector to open in July", said Sun International CEO Anthony Leeming.

Read the full Moneyweb article here: Casino industry hopes to reopen within the next month

Among the measures proposed to return safely to gambling are switching off every second slot machine to ensure social distancing, Du Toit told the publication.

Casinos believe they are well equipped to implement measures to curb the spread of Sars-CoV-2, thanks to already strict rules on access control, pervasive surveillance, and heavy security, which will make it relatively easy to limit the number of people on a gambling floor at any one time.

Although most economic sectors have been allowed to operate under Alert Level 3, and even professional sports may now resume, there had until recently been no strong indications that the ban on personal-care services (such as hairdressing) and entertainment venues will be lifted any time soon.

But on Thursday a change in regulations published in the Government Gazette revealed that the government is working on a plan for a return to operation of cinemas – even if a timeline is not yet clear.

"The gazetted regulations relate to the legal approval of our submission to collaborate and speak to our competitors on a co-ordinated industry opening, once the lockdown regulations allow us to reopen," cinema chain Nu Metro told Business Insider South Africa. "At this stage, we don’t know when that will be."

Gambling may return, but crowded floors will not

Measures proposed by the gambling industry to keep patrons safe include limiting crowds, regular screenings for fever, and enhanced cleaning routines. 

With a few exceptions, such measures have become standard around the world, albeit with unique twists in different territories.

Casinos in Illinois have been told to not offer food in buffet format, and in Pennsylvania poker rooms, where players would handle chips and cards, have been banned.

In Bulgaria, regulators say gamblers must wear gloves as well as masks, and in British Columbia, plexiglass dividers between slot machines have been suggested.

In Las Vegas, hand-washing stations have appeared on some casino floors.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

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