Casinos and Bingo Halls to Reopen Soon in Alberta

Casinos and Bingo Halls to Reopen Soon in Alberta

The province of Alberta is edging closer to opening its casino and bingo hall doors to gaming fans. The provincial government is already working on a plan to make sure that re-opening businesses remain safe, as masses are expected to flock to the casinos once in-person gambling can resume.

 

Un-shuttering was originally planned for the beginning of March, but this has been moved to the end of the month instead, to give businesses enough time to prepare their staff and premises in the appropriate manner. Strict restrictions have had a devastating effect on bars, restaurants, pubs, casinos, and bingo halls so there’s no doubt that owners and operators are looking forward to re-welcoming the public into their premises. However, this still has to be done safely to safeguard both the workers and the consumers.

Read about Nova Scotia Gaming Corporation’s future.

In more good news, many Albertans will also have been vaccinated by the time casinos and entertainment venues resume their operations. Despite this, Edmonton’s Castledowns Bingo Hall manager Brenda Pope said that it is of paramount importance for visitors to follow all health and safety protocols. These include having their temperature checked before being allowed into the premises, and the deep cleaning of all high-touch surfaces. “We want to make sure we’re still being cautious. So the new normal is going to be much different than the old normal,” said Pope.

Read about difficulties land-based casinos had in 2020.

Head of Bingo Alberta John Szumlas said that virtual re-training is being given to all employees to make sure that all the staff remembers how to properly conduct the health and safety measures that have to be implemented in all the province’s entertainment venues. Szumlas is predicting that “there will be virus hesitancy even once the halls are open.” He added that the solution for this was to adhere completely to the protocol, something which he is hoping the provincial government will update everyone on soon.

 

The thrilling news of unshuttering casinos and bingo halls also brought joy to thousands of workers who will be able to resume their standard of living once they return to their jobs. Vik Mahajan, CEO at River Cree Resort and Casino, said that the casino’s staff of approximately 1,000 are all really excited about going back to work. “We can open at a moment’s notice,” he said, demonstrating his eagerness to be able to welcome loyal patrons once again.

Mahajaran went on to explain that in his estimations, between lockdowns and restrictions, VLTs were closed for about 160 days, with table games being completely non-operational for more than 200 days. Running parallel to this, casinos in Alberta collectively spent CA$10 million towards safety measures to help stop the spread of Covid-19. In his opinion, “we need to find a way to work through these things as opposed to just closing things.”

 

What’s more, the province’s gaming industry did not forget its social responsibility in these trying times. At the beginning of 2020, Alberta Gaming, Liquor, and Cannabis launched an online gaming site, and eight bingo halls across the province introduced virtual bingo events for people to play from the comfort and safety of their homes. According to Szumlas, thanks to these video events, operators could donate some CA$400,000 to be distributed to charities in February alone.

He also said that Bingo Alberta will not urge the province to allow casinos and bingo halls to reopen if studies show that it is not safe to do so. Nevertheless, Szumlas had a very important message to make. “But, equally importantly, we have a duty and obligation to the charities that are relying upon the revenue that is derived from the game of bingo,” he said.

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