Monday, Wind Creek casinos in Atmore, Wetumpka, and Montgomery re-opened on Monday.
The Wind Creek Casinos are operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. Casinos and other entertainment venues were allowed to reopen by Governor Kay Ivey (R) after she lifted the ban on the venues to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
Wind Creek is promising that they are adhering to social distancing and are doing everything possible to keep its guests safe.
“We want to offer an environment that we would be comfortable bringing our family and friends to,” said general manager Tim Ramer.
Wind Creek is promising that there will be temperature screenings and masks before entering the buildings. They are also recommending that guests make reservations on-line to make sure that they have a seat available since the facilities are operating at limited capacity.
Only a third of the games are available for play and they are not all concentrated on the gaming floor. The conference rooms and other meeting space has been turned into gaming rooms. This allows the machines to be six foot or more from each other to allow for better social distancing. Wind Creek is promising that the rooms will be closed several times each day so that the machines can be cleaned thoroughly.
“A lot of folks who have been home for the last 60 days are ready to get out and do something,” said Wind Creek Executive Vice President Ken Rohman. “We want to make sure we can give you an escape that is fun, exciting, just like you are used to just in a way that is safe and everybody has a good time.”
Los Vegas also recently reopened its casinos to gamblers.
Some public health officials have expressed reservations about opening large entertainment venues like casinos and warn that there are still significant health risks from the novel strain of the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The re-opening of the economy has resulted in more people leaving their homes and anger at the death of George Floyd has resulted in mass protests across Alabama and much of the country. While the protestors are marching against police brutality and for social justice, many of them have not been practicing social distancing, which concerns some public health experts.
The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that bingo is a game played on paper cards and that electronic bingo machines are actually electronic slot machines and are illegal in Alabama under the Constitution of 1901. The Poarch Creeks Indians (PCI) however are regulated by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, which have in the past ruled favorably for the tribe.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) has formed a study group to look at gambling in the state and make recommendations to the legislature.
Alabama remains under a Safer at Home order. Gov. Ivey advises Alabamians that if you do not need to go out then don’t go out.