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Best of John Grochowski

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Reopening of the Casinos

24 May 2020

QUESTION: When casinos are allowed to reopen, will they be able to offer a full range of games? Will social distancing make a difference?

ANSWER: Every jurisdiction will have its own regulations for reopening. New Jersey, Nevada, Illinois and Oklahoma regulations won’t necessarily all look the same.

It would be safe to assume social distancing protocols will be in place, with specifics to be determined. There has been a great deal of discussion within the casino industry of what will happen. Nevada, for one, has given us a peek at what standards might look like.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board asked casinos to submit reopening plans. At the same time, the board issued guidelines that included occupancy of no more than 50 percent of gaming areas as permitted by local and fire codes; availability of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for employees and customers; slot machine floor plans that would allow for social distancing as well as social distancing with no more than three players per blackjack table, six per craps table, four per roulette table and four per poker table.

In addition, there would be requirements for cleaning and disinfecting all slots, tables and equipment, and plans for preventing players from congregating in groups.

Putting it all in practice will be tricky. Proper distancing on slots and other video gaming machines will require thinking in multiple dimensions.

Shutting off machines so there is no-play space between active games is a start, but the distance between rows has to be considered, too. The back of your slot chair might be less than three feet from the back of another player’s chair. Floors might have to be reconfigured to minimize back-to-back rows.

At roulette, players typically reach over and around each other to place their bets. Will systems have to be enforced in which players take turns making bets or have dealers move their chips to maintain distance?

Will pots get large enough at four-player poker games to maintain player interest?

There may be only three players per seven-player blackjack table in blackjack, but three players require one dealer, just as seven players do. That casino expense doesn’t decrease.

Perhaps reduced capacity will put upward pressure on betting limits, so low-limit games disappear while restrictions are in place. On the other hand, demand could be reduced while some players remain unready to congregate.

Will casinos with reduced capacity and extra regulations and requirements be profitable? Will some choose not to reopen in the first wave?
As with much we’ve seen in the last few months, there are unknowns at work. Casinos and regulators can plan for a phased reopening as best they can, but some questions will remain unanswered until we see reality at work.


QUESTION: I’ve seen the warnings against the basket bet on 0-00-1-2-3 in double-zero roulette. What if there’s a $5 table with minimum $1 chips, and I want to bet $1 on those numbers? Can I do it a better way?

ANSWER: You can get your bet as low as $2 with a $1 split on 0 and 00 and a $1 street on 1-2-3.

That is a problem. The $1 basket has a house edge of 7.89 percent and an average loss of 7.89 cents. The split and street have house edges of only 5.26 percent, but since you’re betting twice as much, the average loss is 10.52 cents.

If you really want those five numbers and want to stay with a $5 total bet, my advice would be to eliminate one of the other $1 bets that contribute to your $5 minimum.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski