Casinos reopen in Ohio today with new regulations

Posted at 8:36 AM, Jun 19, 2020

CINCINNATI — When gamblers return to casinos on Friday, they’ll notice several new regulations in place.

All Ohio casinos must have specific hours for people who are more at risk of contracting COVID-19, and casinos can only operate at 50% capacity.

Some casinos are requiring masks, and others are not. At the future home of Hard Rock Casino, everyone has to wear a mask, and guests and employees have to get their temperatures checked upon entering. The casino will only operate at 20% capacity.

Belterra Park in Anderson Township is recommending masks, but they are not required.

Thousands of slot machines are turned off in order to achieve social distancing, according to George Goldhoff, president of Hard Rock Cincinnati.

"We don't just have every other slot machine turned off, but we've ensured that our banking strategy ensures there's 6-foot distance between any two slot players," Goldhoff said.

Belterra Park also has social distancing requirements in place.

Casinos with table games are limited, which means there are no poker tables. Craps and black jack tables will be limited to three to four players, and plexiglass barriers are in place to keep players separated from each other and the dealer.

Goldhoff said cleaning crews will be working around the clock to keep high-touch areas like screens, buttons, chips and cards sanitized.

"One of the items we're using is called an electrostatic atomizer, which sprays very fine mist and wherever that mist lands, it disinfects that surface. So you can cover a large square footage of the casino in a very short period of time,” he said.

But some regulations at gaming facilities have been lifted. At Belterra Park, guests will be able to watch racing, according to vice president of marketing Blair Bendel.

"Guests will be able to watch racing both inside in our OTB and outside, so we've been approved to allow spectators to watch racing,” Bendel said.

Belterra Park will close for several hours each night for deep cleaning. Hard Rock will remain open as crews clean.