While online poker players in Pennsylvania get ready for the end of the PokerStars PA monopoly, those who are not afraid to step into a brick-and-mortar casino are finally able to enjoy some live poker action.
Four brick-and-mortar casinos in the Keystone State decided to re-open their doors to poker players after implementing a number of safety measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Poker is Back at the Rivers Casino Philadelphia
As announced on the casino’s official Twitter account, the Rivers Casino Philadelphia restarted its operation on Oct. 23, offering a limited number of games in a COVID-safe environment.
“We’re excited to welcome you back,” a note published on the Rivers Casino website states. “We worked hard with the Philadelphia’s Department of Health and Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to make sure the poker room remains a safe place for guests and our team members.”
The new measures in place include limited seating per table and also placement of plexiglass partitions in some of the key areas in the poker room.
When it comes to masks, “[they] must be worn all the time,” River Casino indicates. “Surveillance and security — along with all Rivers Casino Philadelphia personnel — will be monitoring continuously and enforcing full compliance.”
Also, “hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes dispensers have been placed throughout the room and at each table.”
For the time being, food consumption and smoking will not be allowed inside the poker room but will be permitted in a designated area “near the valet entrance.”
Players interested in joining the live games at the Rivers Casino Philadelphia are invited to check availability via the Bravo Poker App and to call the casino to book a seat at the poker table in advance.
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Mohegan Sun Pocono ‘Laser-Focused’ to Prepare a Safe Reopen
The Rivers Casino is not the only establishment to offer live poker games in Pennsylvania right now. The Mohegan Sun Pocono also restarted their poker operations even earlier, on Oct. 16.
We’re all-in on safely welcoming you back to our Poker Room tomorrow (10/16) at 12pm! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/t0glGSj2nd
— Mohegan Sun Pocono ☀ (@MSPocono) October 15, 2020
“Over the past few months Mohegan Sun Pocono has been laser-focused on preparing our property for a safe reopen,” said Anthony Carlucci, President & General Manager of MSP.
“With the guidance of industry experts, regulatory agencies, and in closely mirroring the comprehensive protocols put in place by Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment’s (MGE) flagship property in Connecticut, we feel we are well-prepared for our doors to open and can’t wait to welcome guests to a clean, safe and fun environment.”
The list of measures adopted by the Mohegan Sun Pocono to limit the risks of exposure to the COVID-19 virus include mandatory use of face masks, temperature check performed at the entrance, and the installation of plexiglass panels in all transactional locations.
“We will be using plastic poker cards that will be replaced every six hours, and used poker cards will be re-inspected and sanitized by our security team each gaming day,” a casino representative explained on Twitter.
“We will also have hand sanitizer available and recommend it being used before and after playing.”
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The Mount Airy and the Meadows are Back in Business
The Mount Airy Casino is also back in business, although in a limited capacity. The casino’s poker rooms offer seven-handed games and adopted measures that include the mandatory use of face masks and plexiglass dividers placed on each table.
Likewise, the Meadows Poker Room located just outside Philadelphia is back with 14 tables — all dedicated to cash games.
“While the amenities our customers have come to know and love may be somewhat limited […], the ability to safely welcome back our team members and guests remain our top priority,” the Meadows explains in a note.
“With this in mind, we have been working closely with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, state and local leaders, and public health officials to finalize comprehensive reopening protocols and new health and safety precautions.
“Our returning team members will be trained on these procedures and our guests will see reminder signage about them throughout the property.”
The new protocols include measures such as mandatory face masks, a ban on smoking inside the casino premises, and the use of a special ‘fog machine’ to sanitize and disinfect the entire property every night.
For the time being, the Meadows Casino plans to operate at 50 percent capacity and not to run any poker tournaments.
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888Poker and WSOP.com Coming Soon to PA
Things are changing in Pennsylvania also on the online side of the poker industry, as recent developments suggest that the end of the PokerStars PA monopoly could be very near.
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approved the application submitted by 888, opening the door to two new PA online poker sites.
Mostly known for their 888poker site, the Israel-based gaming company 888Holdings operates in the United States also as a business-to-business (B2B) entity, with its software powering the WSOP.com poker client.
Following the regulatory approval and the fact that also the owner of WSOP.com – Caesars Interactive Entertainment – holds a Pennsylvania license, we can now expect both brands to enter the market and begin to offer online poker games soon.
This would put an end to the monopoly that PokerStars PA has enjoyed since their launch back in November 2019.
Lead image courtesy of the Mohegan Sun – Pocono. Twitter.