D’Iberville, Miss. (WKRG) – The Mississippi Gaming Commission has given the green light for casinos in the state to reopen on Thursday and many coast casinos are preparing.
Mississippi casinos closed on March 16 because of the coronavirus pandemic and now over two months later it is time to reopen.
We got a chance to go behind the scenes with Scarlet Pearl Casino in D’iberville to see how they are preparing. They are currently working hard to get the facility ready for reopening with CDC and Gaming Commission guidelines in mind.
“We are reopening a casino and there is nothing more exciting than that,” says Ben Koff the Vice President of Marketing with the Pearl. He says looking at an empty casino floor for two months has been hard, but it is nothing they weren’t prepared for.
Koff says they are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of their guests and employees. “From the floor what you can see right now, our slot machines are spaced six feet apart, whenever there is a line we are making sure we have floor signage to ensure social distancing.” In addition to those measures, they are also encouraging guests to wear masks, performing temperatures checks on guests and employees, and only allowing three people at each table game with clear barriers separating them.
Even with two months of zero revenue coming in, The Scarlet Pearl says they know they can bounce back. Koff explained it like this: “We are looking at it from the long run because any given day we can have someone come in who beats us for a ton of money and beats us for a jackpot. If any industry can bounce back and make it work, it’s the casino industry.”
But when Mississippi Casinos do open, Koff says they expect plenty to be coming in. “There will be large crowds because people have been cooped up and of course we are going to do it as responsibly as possible following all regulations, but we welcome everybody here and we look forward to seeing all our guests again.”
The Scarlet Pearl’s other amenities like their spa, restaurant and retail will also be following state and CDC guidelines for safety. All Mississippi Coast casinos will be opening their doors at 8 A.M. on May 21.