A ray of gambling sunshine has penetrated the shuttered confines of South African casinos that were shut down because of the pandemic.
Sun International, the country’s premier casino chain, has announced that it’s reopening a number of its urban casinos that have now been virus-proofed with a battery of health and safety measures to protect punters.
The news has been greeted with relief and good cheer by many punters who have been missing real-world gaming action for over three-months.
Important safety measures have been introduced.
Gaming tables and slot machines, for example, have been moved to conform to new social distancing norms and Perspex-type shields installed to protect gamblers.
Other important measures include sanitization of gaming dice and chips, temperature tests conducted at entrances and asking gamblers to complete a medical questionnaire in advance of their visit.
For now only members of Sun International’s loyalty program–Most Valued Guests (MVGs)–will be allowed to gamble on the casino floor.
“We know that we will need to find a new normal and adapt to new ways of doing things as our country reopens for business,” said Graham Wood, Hospitality COO for the Sun International Group.
“We ask that our guests be understanding of the strict new health and safety protocols and particularly the wearing of masks and physical distancing.’
Sun casino properties that have reopened include The Boardwalk and Entertainment World in Port Elizabeth, Carnival City Casino and Entertainment World in Ekurhuleni, GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World in Cape Town, Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom in Durban and Time Square in the capital, Pretoria.
Among other Sun casinos scheduled for reopening are Flamingo Casino in Kimberley, Golden Valley Casino in Worcester, Meropa Casino and Entertainment World in Polokwane and the Windmill Casino and Entertainment Centre in Bloemfontein.
In line with current regulations, all the reopened casinos will not be serving alcohol.
And entertainment facilities at some casinos will still be shut for the moment.
But restaurants, including those run by concessionaires, will be open — with reconfigured layouts and the necessary physical distancing rules.
Other major Sun International casinos will remain shuttered, temporarily.
These include Sun City Resort, The Wild Coast Sun Resort, The Boardwalk Hotel, The Maslow Sandton Hotel and The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town.
Across the world–as we have reported from Las Vegas and Macao, for instance–casinos and gaming resorts are now working to the drum beat of the new normal.
Amid the Coronavirus crisis, the health and safety of gaming staff and players has now been given maximum precedence.
With cautious optimism, the dice are back tumbling and the slots spinning in South Africa’s casinos.