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7 Things You Won’t See in Casinos Anymore

How will you play the odds at blackjack and will you ever go all-in in poker again?

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Cropped Hand Playing Cards
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What are the odds?

The coronavirus pandemic has upended many facets of everyday life, and that includes what to do for entertainment in places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Casinos may look a bit different from the ones you’ve previously visited in real life and the ones you’ve seen in classic casino movies such as Casino Royale, Rain Man, and Ocean’s Eleven. Casinos across the United States have had to update their policies and rethink what it means to gamble in a hygienic manner in a pandemic. Along with wearing a face mask, practicing social distancing, and not gambling when you’re sick, read on for 7 things you won’t see in casinos anymore. If you’re looking to have Lady Luck on your side, here are the casino games to play if you don’t want to lose all of your money.

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Main Street Station Casino
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An unchanged space

What you think of casinos has completely changed due to COVID-19. “Casinos will have to plan the use of space in their facilities due to the increased risk of catching COVID-19 carefully,” Dr. Nikola Djordjevic MD, medical advisor at HealthCareers, tells Reader’s Digest. “Because most of the casinos are indoors, there’s an increased risk of spreading the virus. I’m sure they will have to decrease the number of slot machines present in the facilities and limit the number of people allowed to enter the facility.” Online casinos have also grown in popularity since COVID-19. People began to play more online casinos after real casinos closed. Online casinos became popular after COVID-19 not only because they replaced real casinos, but also because they allowed players from other countries that do not have/forbid casinos to enjoy casino games online as if they were in a real casino. In the Middle East, for example, www.arabic-casinos.org is one of the most popular sites among Arabs in the Middle East and around the world for getting all the information you need about online casinos. Casinos aren’t the only entertainment venues that are changing. Here are 9 things you won’t see in theme parks anymore.

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happy woman gambling at casino playing slot machine
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No temperature checks

Gone are the days of being able to enter certain casinos without thinking about your health. At Tonkawa Hotel & Casino, located in Oklahoma and operated by the Tonkawa tribe, there’s an extensive health and safety guideline posted on their website for reopening during COVID-19. “Non-invasive thermal cameras will be placed at Hotel entry point to the casino,” reads the guideline. “Any person displaying a cough, shortness of breath, or other known symptoms of COVID-19 or a temperature above 100.0°F will not be allowed to enter the facility.”

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Dirty chips

When you think of casinos, along with nightlife, entertainment, and cards, you probably think about gambling chips—you’ll want to wash your hands after handling those, plus after touching these 10 things. But how will these chips be cleaned during a pandemic? Various casinos have various methods of cleaning poker chips. In Las Vegas, El Cortez Hotel & Casino laid out a reopening plan which involves cleaning chips. “Over 30,000 casino chips were professionally cleaned and disinfected by an outside company,” according to their guidelines. “Each chip was then coated with an EPA registered anti-microbial solution that prevents viruses from attaching to the surface.”

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Photo taken in York, United Kingdom

Spaces without acrylic shields

At El Cortez Hotel & Casino, acrylic shields have been installed in various areas around the vicinity including the front desk, the casino stage, and the gift shop. For your own protection, here’s the difference between a face shield and a face mask and which one is better for you to use.

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Close-Up Of Hands Playing Slot Machine
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Poor air ventilation

You’ll see many changes on the casino floor, but you may not see what goes on behind the scenes with air ventilation maintenance. “With the heightened health and cleaning protocols due to the pandemic, air duct cleaning will need to be top of mind for casinos when it comes to safety procedures. Proper maintenance of air ducts will get rid of all harmful contaminants and pollutants to one’s health,” John Ward, account executive at Mold Busters, tells Reader’s Digest. “These can include mold and asbestos, which can often trigger allergic reactions or serious illnesses. By maintaining the acceptable indoor air quality within casinos, the health and safety of those in attendance will be enhanced.” Concerned about indoor air quality not only on the ground but in the air? Here’s the truth about recirculated air on airplanes.

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Paper transactions

If you’re used to using paper coupons, you may need to get used to the idea of paperless transactions, and not just for hygiene purposes. According to the Century Casino Cape Girardeau website reviewing changes due to COVID-19, one change is for the casino “to go paperless in order to reduce the amount of person to person transactions.” If you already had cash coupons, don’t worry—there’s a solution for that, too. “For guests who had valid cash coupons during our closure, we’ll be adding replacement offers to your account by adding points that you can redeem for cash or you can leave them on your account to use as downloadable credit starting in August.”

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Excited friends gambling at roulette table in casino
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A loud atmosphere

The ambiance of a casino during a pandemic might sound a bit different from the commotion that you may be used too, either in reality or in the movies. “Sometimes in a casino, you hear all this screaming and yelling because at the craps table you get an excited crowd and somebody gets on a hot roll,” Steve Bourie, author of the American Casino Guide tells Slate. “Hard to do that with six people. Normally you’d have 20, 25 people around a hot table.”
For more on this developing situation, including how life might be different post-lockdown, see our comprehensive Coronavirus Guide.

Madeline Wahl
Madeline Wahl is a former associate editor and writer at RD.com whose work has appeared on HuffPost, Red Magazine, McSweeney's, Pink Pangea, The Mighty, Golf Channel and Yahoo Lifestyle, among others. More of her writing can be found on her website, madelinehwahl.com.