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Florida Casinos Could Be Open By End Of May

Will Operate At 50% Capacity And Will Implement Dividers For Table Games


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced earlier this week that professional sports were welcome to practice and play in the Sunshine State. Based on remarks made by the CEO of the largest gambling operator in his state, a casino reopening may not be far behind.

In an interview with Fox Business, Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen said that he expected to reopen the company’s Hard Rock-branded Florida casinos as early as late May.

“We’re thinking about opening up in Florida at the end of May or early June,” said Allen. “But on a global basis, frankly, it’s one country at a time.”

Hard Rock International was bought by the Seminole Tribe in 2007. The tribe has exclusive rights in the Sunshine State for most non-poker related gambling and has several locations throughout the state.

Allen also noted that the company was paying close attention to how other casino openings around the country have gone. Deadwood opened its casinos to the public last week and experienced a big turnout in its first full weekend back in business.

“We’re anticipating very large crowds,” said Allen. “We saw some openings last week in other parts of the United States and frankly, volumes are tremendous. We will be prepared for that. Our max capacity we are going to allow is about 50 percent as we kind of navigate through safety for our guests and for our employees.”

The 50 percent reduction will likely be implemented for a while. In a CNBC interview last month, Allen said that it would be “at least a year” before casinos operate at full capacity.

Allen said that table games will run at a reduced capacity, with only four players per blackjack table, and that the tables will have dividers between the players and the dealers. All employees will be using gloves and facial coverings while they work.

The restrictions Allen listed sounded very similar to the ones proposed by Nevada regulators at the start of May, which would only allow four players at a poker table, four at a roulette table, six at a craps table and three at a blackjack table.

At the end of April, a video surfaced on Twitter that showed some of these dividers in action at table games, but in Florida, it looks like they may be used at poker tables as well.

Local Miami sports radio host Andy Slater tweeted a photo yesterday of Hialeah Park casino testing out dividers that it would use for its poker tables.

While it is just a test and there was no actual gambling taking place, the photo did only have four players at the table, indicating that the state could be flirting with the exact same regulations as Nevada.