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Pennsylvania casinos may return to 100 percent capacity on Memorial Day

Publication Date: May 6, 2021, 10: 51 hrs.

Last updated: May 6, 2021, 10: 25 hrs.

Devin O'Connor

Pennsylvania casinos, for the first time since COVID - 19 occurred in March 125502975 , will soon be free of limited operational capacity.

Pennsylvania casino online gambling Wolf
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) is seen in an undated file photo. The governor is allowing the state's casinos to operate without limited capacity restrictions starting Memorial Day. (Photo: Times Leader )

On the same day that New Jersey announced that Atlantic City casinos could return to 100 percent capacity effective May 19, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said the state's casinos could do the same, but starting on Memorial Day.

Pennsylvania is home to 25 commercial casinos. Four more are on the way, although these facilities are so-called "satellite casinos" that can accommodate up to 750 slot machines and 30 table games.

As of 12: 01 a.m. ET on Monday, May 31, casino floors will no longer be subject to capacity restrictions. Since April 4, casinos have been restricted to operating at 75 percent of their fire code capacity, although there have been no reports of players being forced to deter gamblers.

Despite Memorial Day lifting limits, employees and guests must continue to wear face masks indoors unless actively eating or drinking. The temporary indoor smoking ban remains in place. Before the pandemic, Pennsylvania casinos were allowed to designate up to 50 percent of their gaming floor for smoking.

Mask authorization

Wolf says if Pennsylvanians want to enter businesses, including casinos, and not have to wear a mask, they have to be vaccinated. The second-term governor says once 86 percent of adults in Pennsylvania are fully vaccinated, he will take down the mask order.

Effective May 31, we are removing COVID restriction orders.

The masking order will be lifted when 70% Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinated.

Help us raise the masking order earlier. Find your nearest vaccination appointment: https://t.co/4UeI1Bx6rO. pic.twitter.com/o2vebK3lot

- Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) May 4, 2021

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, 50. 1 percent of all adults have received at least one dose as of May 6. According to the health agency, 32. 2 percent are fully vaccinated by receiving two doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Brick and mortar restoration

The gambling industry in Pennsylvania, the second richest state after Nevada, benefited from full-scale legal iGaming during the pandemic .

Generated 2020 online casinos gross gaming revenue of 565.7 million. The interactive online gaming platforms didn't launch until July 2019, so there is no reasonable annual end -year comparable.

But Wolf's closure of land-based casinos, which was in effect from mid-March until the gradual geographic reopening that began in June, devastated traditional gaming revenue. In 2020, slots and table games at physical casinos totaled $1. 86 billion. That's a drop of $1.4 billion - or 43 percent - from 2019, when land-based casinos reported GGR of $3. 26 billion.

With the continued introduction of vaccines into the gun and restrictions on Wolf's carry, casinos are hoping that guests will return in large numbers.

Penn National Gaming, the oldest casino operator in the state, will have three gaming outlets when its satellites in York and Morgantown open later This year. During its first quarter earnings call today, the company said it is seeing "strong demand" across its national portfolio.

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