Eldorado Resorts Reopens Three Louisiana Casinos

  • Customers per table restricted, sanitizing protocols in place
  • Casinos must get permission to reopen from Louisiana Gaming Control Board
  • Properties must run at no more than 50% customer capacity
  • Eldorado merger with Caesars still going ahead as planned
Eldorado Shreveport casino
Two months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to close, three Eldorado casinos in Louisiana have reopened at half capacity. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Safety paramount

Eldorado Resorts, Inc. reopened three of its Louisiana casinos on Monday, May 18, at noon local time. Isle of Capri Lake Charles, Belle of Baton Rouge, and Eldorado Shreveport had been closed since March 16 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

the health and safety of our team members and guests is our number one priority

“As we resume operations at our properties, the health and safety of our team members and guests is our number one priority,” said Anthony Carano, president and chief operating officer of Eldorado Resorts, in Monday’s announcement. “We have been working very hard over the last two months to prepare for the reopening of our casinos and we look forward to providing the outstanding service and hospitality experiences Eldorado is known for in a safe manner.”

Eldorado has detailed the health and safety precautions it is taking at its casinos on its website. There are limitations in place on the number of players that can be at each table on the casino floor, including three per blackjack table, four per roulette table, and six per craps table. No spectators will be allowed to crowd around tables to watch.

As one would expect, frequent sanitizing will occur. Dealers will actually give each customer hand sanitizer when they arrive at a table and sanitizing stations will be available throughout the property.

Casinos limited to 50% capacity

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced a week ago that the state’s casinos would be permitted to reopen on Friday, May 15, though that starting date was pushed to Monday. Properties are still required to get the green light from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

at 25% capacity, there simply would not be enough revenue coming in make reopening feasible

Also changed was the maximum allowed capacity, up to 50% from the original 25%. This adjustment was made, in part, because the operators of Louisiana’s 19 casinos were concerned that at 25% capacity, there simply would not be enough revenue coming in make reopening feasible.

“I don’t want to seem ungrateful but if we can only service 25% of the positions, it really impacts the number of people who get called back to work,” said Wade Duty, executive director of the Louisiana Casino Association.

Though casinos are allowed to unlock their doors, not all Louisiana properties are doing so. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell is not permitting casinos in the city to reopen yet and is implementing stricter rules than the state overall.

At least one gambling venue, the DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel in Bossier City, has decided to close for good because of financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Caesars acquisition still on-track

The opening of the three Louisiana casinos comes as Reno, Nevada-based Eldorado is wrapping up a $17.3bn acquisition of rival Caesars Entertainment. Eldorado is a “regional” casino operator, with 23 properties in 11 states. After the deal is completed, it will own the Bally’s, Caesars, and Harrah’s brands, among other Caesars properties, making it a true “national” casino company.

Eldorado will also take control of the World Series of Poker brand and the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, the Las Vegas home of the WSOP. With the merger, the future venue for the world’s most prestigious live poker tournament series is in question. When the deal was announced last summer, the 2020 WSOP – which has since been postponed – was already booked for the Rio. It is possible that next year’s plans could change, with or without the coronavirus health crisis.

Despite the current depressed state of the gaming industry, the Eldorado-Caesars deal is expected to close by the end of June.