Land Based Casinos to Reopen in Canada & GGE Returns to Vegas!

Land Based Casinos to Reopen in Canada & GGE Returns to Vegas! Now, casinos operating in Canada are set to reopen on July 1st. (Image source: Pixabay by stokpic)

After closing for over a year due to the pandemic, casinos operating in Canada are set to reopen on July 1. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation (BCLC) has announced the protocols required for the reopening of the casino venues and community gaming centers. Casinos operating in the British Columbia province closed in March 2020 when the deadly COVID-19 virus hit the country and made government declare lockdown as part of the measure to curb the spread.

The British Columbia Lottery Corporation is currently in talks with WorkSafe British Columbia, public-health officials, ministry staff, and service providers to study the details of the scheduled reopening plan and reach an agreement.

Statement from BCLC CEO and Interim President

While commenting on the reopening scheduled for July 1, BCLC’s CEO and Interim President, Lynda Cavanaugh stated that the commission is pleased to be on track with the reopening plan and that they are currently one step closer to achieving the goal.

She further stated that the commission is also delighted to be part of step 3 of the reopening plan which will encompass the entire casino industry in British Columbia to bring people back together safely. Cavanaugh concluded also said that casinos offer safe and amazing socialization and entertainment while also generating income for First Nations, community programs, and provincial initiatives. When breaking down some of the conditions, casinos will lose money per square meter in some areas such as spacing between video slot machine, but foot traffic coming into casinos may take time to pick in any case, and therefore, by the time things are back to normal, hopefully the casinos will be able to make full use of the floor space!

According to the BCLC, casino staff must undergo and complete specialized training on safety and health protocols before the reopening while the commission will keep on monitoring financial standards and capacity including the quality of air.

GGE Returns to Vegas

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Gaming Expo (the premier trade event in the gaming industry) has not been able to hold because of several restrictions put in place to curtail the spread of the virus such as social distancing. Normalcy is gradually returning to all sectors and the gambling industry is not left out with casinos in Canada now opening after a long closure occasioned by the spread of COVID-19 last year. The icing of the cake is the press release from AGA (the American Gaming Association) and Reed Exhibition (its partner) formally announcing their plans to go ahead with the Global Gaming Expo 2021.

This year’s edition of the G2E has a new twist as it will be an in-person event but with additional virtual components set to hold from 4th to 7th of October 2021 (Expo Hall: 5th to 7th of October, Education 4th to 7th of October) at the Sands Expo located in Las Vegas. After its one-year break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Global Gaming Expo will liaise with partners, local, state, and federal authorities as well as the Sands Expo and Convention Center to bring the global gaming industry together safely for the first time ever since 2019.

Statement From G2E Director of Event and AGA Vice President

Speaking on the new development, the event director at G2E, Korbi Carrison stated that

The expo has been a leader in the global gaming community uniting them for more than 20 years now.  He added that they are excited with this year’s edition scheduled for October as the industry’s hallmark event will bring everyone together once again.

In his last remarks, Carrison stated that the announcement made today is a result of the restriction on all capacity lifted by Clark County (Las Vegas’ home) while the gaming industry is enjoying major momentum. The commercial gaming income in the first quarter of 2021 tied at 11 billion dollars for the highest-earning quarter ever highlighting consumer enthusiasm for the gaming sector which felt the hardest hit of the pandemic.

Gambling Venues’ Requirements

For gambling venues to open, they must follow the following protocols:

  • Players should not be allowed to touch cards: this implies that only table games where cards can be dealt face up will be made available except for Squeeze Baccarat because it employs one-time use cards.
  • There must be reduced occupancy to players: that is, player’s entry should be limited to the available active seats on the gaming floor. The same applies to occupancy for amenities like lounges and restaurants.
  • Protection screens: Each gambling venue should set up a physical barrier like plexiglass especially in places where casino employees like cash-cage staff or dealers must interact with players or where physical distancing is not achievable.
  • Spacing out games: There must be at least 2 meters spacing between slot machines, table games, and other gambling equipment in line with the physical distancing rule.

Also speaking on the scheduled expo, vice president of the American Gaming Association, Meredith Pallante stated that:

They are eager to bring the industry safely back together in Las Vegas for the 2021 edition of the Global Gaming Expo. She also added that the industry has shown great resilience since the beginning of the pandemic and that it will be a milestone achievement to be able to able to gather together once more.

The management of the G2E show carried out research to study major G2E stakeholders in May 2021. The research was aimed at understanding how COVID-19 has impacted the stakeholders’ businesses, objective mindsets, and plans for attending the Global Gaming Expo in October. The survey revealed that stakeholders have a strong yearning for an in-person Global Gaming Expo so that they can buy new products. The key findings are as follows;

  • Over 80% of the interviewees stated that they would probably or definitely purchase products for their company when they attend the show.
  • When asked about the importance of attending G2E to the overall business of their organization, the majority of the respondents (93%) said that they had either a moderate or strong need to be at the show in person.
  • More than eight in ten respondents stated that they were somewhat or very likely to attend the expo if it’s held in Las Vegas.

Other factors contributing to going ahead with the Global Gaming Expo include:

  • Maintaining the safety and health of staff, exhibitors, and attendees
  • G2E continues to enhance and update its safety guidelines with new guidelines provided by local and state officials in Sands Expo and Nevada as well as learnings from events.

Similarly, G2E will also continue to add additional G2E-specific official regulations and safety plans as they become available.

  • Evolving Local and State guidelines
  • As of May 1, federal health jurisdiction and oversight transitioned to local counties with officials of Clark County, NV receiving state approval for its Local Mitigation Plan.

Furthermore, COVID-19 test positivity rates in Clark Country have remained low, allowing larger gatherings and events.

  • As of June 1st, Clark County returns to guidelines before the pandemic, lifting restrictions on large gatherings, capacity limits, and more.

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