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Boyd Gaming set to reopen Louisiana and Mississippi casinos


US casino operator Boyd Gaming has announced that it is to reopen its facilities in Louisiana and Mississippi, after the sites were forced to temporarily close due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Boyd said it plans to open its Delta Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel, Evangeline Downs Racetrack Casino Hotel and Treasure Chest Casino in Louisiana on May 20, with Amelia Belle Casino and Sam’s Town Shreveport to follow next week.

The operator is also hoping to reopen its IP Casino Resort Spa and Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Mississippi on May 21.

These will be the first Boyd properties to reopen following the closure of all its US properties in mid-March, following state mandates aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.

However, plans to reopen are subject to regulatory approval in both Louisiana and Mississippi.

“As we begin the process of reopening our properties nationwide, the health and safety of our customers, our team members and our communities will be our highest priority,” Boyd chief executive and president Keith Smith said.

“Across the country, we are implementing comprehensive safety protocols approved by local, state and federal health officials.”

Upon reopening, all properties will operate with limited amenities and capacity restrictions in compliance with state and local requirements. Boyd will also roll out its new ‘Boyd Clean’ initiative, which sets a series of protocols aimed at protecting staff and guests.

These include the mandatory wearing face coverings and temperature checks for all employees, while social distancing measures will be in place across all areas of its facilities, including casino floors and restaurants.

The operator will also commit to enhanced cleaning and sanitation of high-touch surfaces such as gaming machines and table games, as well as install more hand sanitizer dispensers inside its properties and carry out additional training for all staff on the new measures.

“We are optimistic that we will be able to reopen most of our properties over the next several weeks, and we look forward to offering our guests a safe and enjoyable entertainment experience,” Smith said.

Last month, Boyd announced a series of measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus, including placing the majority of its team members on unpaid furlough from April 11. Boyd also suspended its quarterly cash dividend due to the continued effects of the pandemic.

Boyd’s intention to reopen in Louisiana comes after the state’s Governor, John Bel Edwards, lifted a number of restrictions related to coronavirus, including allowing casinos to recommence activities from yesterday (May 18).

Casinos and video poker establishments can open with some limitations in place, such as operating at at 25% capacity and only offering 50% of their gaming positions, spaced out to allow for social distancing.

MGM Resorts last week also set out it a seven-point safety strategy that it said would allow it to safely reopen casinos, while Caesars Entertainment set out a similar plan.