On first day of reopening, casinos see steady stream of players hoping to beat the odds

Baton Rouge casinos see steady stream of patrons on first day of reopening

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Baton Rouge’s three big casinos all had lines of people waiting to get inside to start gambling before they officially reopened Monday, May 18.

Monday was the first day in nearly two months players could get back behind the slots. Governor John Bel Edwards’ latest order cleared the way for casinos across the state to reopen.

"We had about 60 customers in line when we opened up at 8 a.m,” said Kim Ginn, general manager at L’Auberge. “It’s been fabulous to hear voices and excitement and winning back in the building again.”

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Each casino had to submit a plan for reopening to Louisiana State Police before being allowed to do so. Casinos had to also lay out a plan for sanitizing and social distancing.

“We’re wiping down all high contact surfaces on the hour, every hour,” Ginn said. “We’re fogging every night with a COVID-19 antiseptic, just to be sure everything is safe.”

Only 25% of the casino’s capacity is allowed in the building and no more than half of the games can be utilized. For L’Auberge and Hollywood casinos, that looks like having every other slot machine turned off and every other table being used and being limited to three players.

“When you walk in, basically we’re going to ask you to disinfect your hands, we’ll offer you a mask, we’ll ask you if you’ve had any of the COVID-19 symptoms, and then we’re going to take your temperature through a non-contact thermometer,” said Jeannie Magdefrau, general manager at Hollywood Casino.

Managers, Ginn and Magdefrau, both say the slow reopening will help stop the bleeding from being shutdown over the last two months, but they’re unsure if the excitement will continue, or if the throngs of people who showed up Monday were just wanting to get out of the house after being cooped up inside for too long.

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