It is a question many residents in the Hoosier State will have been asking over the summer; When will Indiana casinos open?
The good news is Indiana casinos are open for business, at least for the time being. Casinos in Indiana were permitted to reopen in June 2020 following a shutdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. The Indiana Gaming Commission permission gave the go-ahead for Indiana casinos to reopen with restrictions in place.
Of course, the trajectory of the pandemic is hard to judge, so keeping casinos open in Indiana is not guaranteed. If the numbers of COVID-19 suddenly increase dramatically in the Hoosier State, it could lead to some significant changes for the gambling industry.
For Indiana residents who are reluctant to venture to a casino that may be busier than they want, mobile sports betting is available in the state and is overseen by the Indiana Gaming Board. Online casino gaming is not yet legal; however, this could change depending on the success of sports betting. With there being no online casinos in Indiana, plans have been put in place to ensure physical casinos and Indiana riverboat casinos are as safe as possible to welcome visitors.
As you would expect, casino hotels in Indiana are doing everything in their power to avoid closing the doors again. The initial shutdown lasted for three months, which was a hammer blow to the industry and led to a decrease in revenue.
Additionally, there have been numerous permanent layoffs and furloughs for casino workers around the state. It is not the same story for Indiana’s neighbors regarding the opening of properties. In terms of casinos in Indiana and Michigan, some in the Wolverine State remain closed. There are a couple of Michigan’s tribal casinos that are yet to reopen their doors.
That is something lawmakers in Indiana do not want to experience again. However, it might become necessary if new variants of the virus emerge or the state’s case numbers shoot up. Currently, in February, things are heading in the right direction. However, the future will depend on if Gov. Holcomb decides to stick to the current plan for handling the virus or take a different approach.
A lot of time, thought and money has gone into keeping casino visitors and staff as safe as possible. Extra cleaning is being carried out, disinfecting and segregating areas. Dealers, staff, and visitors are required to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules. Most tables and games (including slots) will have perspex plastic to keep players seperate.
Indiana has been working to a set plan since last year. The program looks at things one county at a time instead of imposing overall regulations across the entire state. Under the current guidance, every county in the state is assigned a color based on its number of COVID-19 cases. The details of each color are below.
State officials have a map of each county that tracks the progress of which areas are which colors. All of the colors are updated on the map each week.
Each casino has to follow different rules depending on which color of the county they reside in. The coronavirus rules state that if a county turns red, the casinos’ capacity in that area is required to decrease by 15%.
Casinos in orange and red counties are also required to have special measures. Some of these include having separate areas for eating, drinking, and smoking. Consequently, customers will not be able to enjoy a drink while sitting at a slot machine or playing a game of blackjack.
There are restrictions in place at most casinos with some areas only open to guests staying over in the casino hotel.
To confirm the casino is definitely open, we recommend calling ahead to check before making your way there. The current list of live casinos in Indiana includes:
It is unknown what the future holds for each of the casinos listed above. Cases are related to restrictions, and nobody yet knows the effect of the vaccine rollout. It is hoped that constraints can be eased, and by the summer, things may look more like the ‘old normal,’ and bettors can visit their local casino without restrictions. If you are unsure, contact your local casino for its current COVID-19 rules and regulations before you visit.