Is Online Blackjack A Primer For Post-Quarantine In-Person Games?

two people in hazmat suits playing at a blackjack table

Once the quarantine is over and legitimate casinos are allowing gamblers to enter once again, what can they expect to encounter in terms of social distancing practices?

Perhaps live blackjack and similar live dealer games offered at offshore betting sites are providing a primer for how domestic facilities will operate once doors open.

The New York Times is reporting that Nevada casinos are preparing for an early June reopening of many casinos, and they are working on social distancing policies to prevent coronavirus exposure to their gamblers.

“The days of 16 people standing around the dice table high-fiving one another are over for now.”

Adam Wiesberg – General Manager, El Cortez Casino

Facilities will be limited to 50% capacity due to new Nevada Gaming Control Board guidelines. Operators are also thinking about raising minimum bets to make up for reduced customer loads and losses experienced during the shutdown.

Let’s take a look at some of these policies and see how they stack up against the best in online blackjack and live dealer casino games.

Players No Longer Able To Touch The Cards

Not touching cards while playing online blackjack is no big deal. And because blackjack hands are always dealt face up, it shouldn’t matter to in-person players, either.

But it does.

Gamblers at brick-and-mortar casinos are used to touching their cards, whether in contemplation or just as an effort to psychologically maintain control of their hands. Players also often tap their cards when calling for a hit.

Online blackjack, be it live dealer or video 21, does not require the physical touching of any cards, and as long as online gamblers maintain the cleanliness of their keyboards or mobile devices, the risk for potential infection is minimal.

Advantage: ONLINE

Reduction Of Gaming Machines

A common method of customer separation that casinos are employing is the removal of a certain number of video blackjack kiosks, slots, and other gambling machines from their floors.

This natural creation of space between gamblers will serve as a buffer that will hopefully be large enough to minimize the risk of further spread of coronavirus-infected molecules.

Despite this precaution, it can hardly compare to the safety that a sanitized environment can provide. According to health organizations around the globe, the safest place is at home where online casinos are a convenient option.

Don’t be surprised to see separator barriers placed on the sides of these video blackjack machines and other gaming terminals in the near future, similar to urinal separators in men’s bathrooms. Gross!

Advantage: ONLINE

Floor Markers For Gamblers

Social distancing requirements suggest at least six feet of separation from other humans (like Kevin Bacon, almost), and casinos have planned to place tape along the floor as a guide for gambler positioning. This will cause table limits to be sure and will reduce the action significantly.

These guidelines were mentioned specifically for the game of craps, so the defined parameters for blackjack are still under consideration. At the very least, betting behind blackjack players might be a long-distance affair.

Advantage: ONLINE

Blackjack Betting Arenas + Mobile Play

All of these distancing guidelines inspired a flawed, yet amusing, idea for the future of blackjack play in casinos that could potentially adhere to modern health regulations and provide for live betting opportunities in this brave new virus-riddled world.

So how can brick-and-mortar casinos take these cues from their online counterparts and establish safe places to play?

Obviously, the first thing to do would be to lobby states to allow for domestic online gambling, as only three US states (DE, NJ, PA) offer such services. But that will take ages, and the political environment doesn’t currently support such in most areas.

So…Blackjack betting arenas!

Because live blackjack allows for betting behind players, it can serve as a spectator sport of sorts, as bettors are wagering on the actions of others.

A potential consideration for domestic casinos to offer a similar experience without having bettors approach the table is some sort of vaulted seating arrangement where the proceedings can be seen. Blackjack bleachers, perhaps.

This plan would cause observers to be within close proximity of other spectators, so although they are removed from the blackjack table and exposure to the players, they would still be within the sphere of potential contagion. Of course, the seats could also be spread out.

Another option would be to do what offshore casinos do with their live dealer games: The dealer is alone at the table, and real cards are dealt. Meanwhile, computer software presents those real cards on interactive screens in front of individual players.

This could be done at retail casinos via kiosks, and these kiosks could be spread around the tables as needed. Then, an attendant could simply wipe down the screen after each patron leaves the game.

There are other options inspired by online play, too.

Getting rid of physical chips is a big one. While you can be sure casinos will clean these, a bettor who just won a stack of chips may tip a cocktail waitress with one, tip the dealer with another, give a few to a friend, and so on. Many casinos use plastic “rewards cards” to handle betting balances for digital games, and that could be done with physical games like blackjack, too.

Bettors may also benefit from being able to play local mobile blackjack and other casino games. While most states have laws against online gambling, as long as the gambling takes place on the casino floor via mobile devices geo-fenced to the property, that might be an easy pill for legislators and regulators to swallow.

Regardless of whether the country is ready for it or not, domestic USA casinos are preparing to open within the next few weeks, and gamblers can expect a much different experience than their last visit.

If you haven’t become familiar with online blackjack or other games during the layover, now would be a great time to check them out.

Once your local casino opens back up, you might find that there’s no real reason to go back!

Same Day Bitcoin Payouts Highlight Perks Of Using Online Casinos

Bitcoins on a laptop keyboard with cards and dice

When it comes to the latest trends in international financial currencies, online casinos operating offshore have always had a keen interest. Because governments and nations across the globe each maintain their own perspective toward gambling, some currencies are easier to deposit and withdraw than others.

Depending on what part of the world a gambler is in, they may have trouble transmitting funds into an online gaming account at an offshore casino. Certain coinage is not acceptable as deposit methods into gambler’s digital bankrolls, and historically, credit and debit cards have been troublesome as each financial institution has its own policy toward monetary transactions with a gambling entity.

Because of these issues, Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) have been a blessing to the online gaming industry. These currencies are completely unregulated by any regime or territory and are not under the control of any financial institution.

Transactions can be made freely and without dispute. Because of the nature of the complex coding involved with Crypto, the online financial transactions are as secure as possible and are verified through a blockchain that incentivizes members in the form of a transaction fee.

That’s a nice perk for the offshore casinos, but what about the gamblers? What benefit do they see when using Cryptocurrency, and what would provide enough of a catalyst to make those that are unfamiliar with Bitcoin jump into the world of Crypto with both feet?

The biggest selling point for the use of Cryptocurrency is that it is the only financial method that will allow for a same day payout. Bitcoin-friendly casinos can now cash players out at nearly the same speed as a domestic gaming facility.

Just to prove how much these legit online casinos prefer the use of Crypto, just have a look at any of their promotional bonus sections. There you’ll find several bonuses that are extended to new members but examine them closely. Many of these offers are enhanced through the use of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies.

Other types of Crypto that we’ve seen at popular offshore betting sites include:

  • Bitcoin (BTC)
  • Bitcoin Cash
  • Litecoin
  • Ethereum
  • Ripple

If you’re an online gambler that would like to use Bitcoin to make a deposit but aren’t familiar with how to acquire it or don’t want to wait for lengthy transaction periods, then a legitimate casino that offers Zelle’s services is just what you need.

Zelle is a cash to Cryptocurrency conversion service that can assist in making a quick Bitcoin deposit. They play the middle-man, quickly handling the exchange process, allowing for a convenient Crypto deposit into an offshore casino bankroll.

Although not as popular as Bitcoin, online casinos that accept Ethereum are appearing more frequently, a trend that we expect to continue. With all of the benefits offered to users of Cryptocurrency at offshore casino sites, it won’t be long before more people are on board with unregulated currency, as well as gambling at online casinos.

Nevada Governor Declares Mid-May Open Season For Casinos. Will Other States Follow?

Casino Floor With A Health Safety Poster Displayed

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has declared that Las Vegas casinos can reopen beginning on May 15, allowing for the country’s largest gaming district to resume operations and jump-start the state’s economy.

In spite of this declaration, the International Business Times is reporting that the Venetian and its family of hotels, which includes The Palazzo and The Venezian Towers, will remain closed until at least May 31.  They are currently accepting bookings for June 1 and afterward.

On the other side of the coin, Treasure Island has stepped up and announced that they will be taking reservations for May 15 and beyond, and plan to open their hotel and casino to visitors and gamblers in a mere 19 days.

“As of right now, [reopening on May 15] is the plan. No matter what, we are adhering to the governor’s official recommendations. We are working with vendors to procure appropriate safety and sanitation measures, which is why we moved our tentative date last week from May 1 to May 15.”

Treasure Island spokeswoman Jennifer Renzelman

Most other major Las Vegas casinos, including MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, and the Luxor, have yet to make any decision regarding an opening date for their properties. Although they are eager to unblock their revenue streams, additional monies can be lost with excessive false starts, and major casinos are hedging their bets.

That does not allow much time to prepare for the regulations and steps that companies will need to take to ensure that social distancing protocols are met and that gaming surfaces can remain free of contaminants.

Some analysts are suggesting that the reopening of casinos should be done in multiple phases. The first phase would involve the opening of the casino gaming floor. There would be regulations for distances between operational slot machines to ensure enough space between visitors.

All players taking part in any table games, including the dealer, would need to wear a protective breathing mask and possibly gloves. Phase 2 would likely allow for the opening of bars and restaurants, and the final phase would entail concert and entertainment venues.

With land-based casinos closed and their executives contemplating reopening strategies, business is up at legitimate online casinos. With a majority of the country still stuck at home in quarantine due to COVID-19, the most trusted USA online casinos have provided gamblers traditional floor games and have gotten creative when putting together betting lines at their sportsbooks.

Whether it the best blackjack games players are interested in, or slot machine games that resemble what you’d see on the floor of a colossal casino on the Vegas strip, the top legit online casinos have it all. The best part is that gamblers don’t have to risk becoming infected with the deadly Coronavirus just to experience it.

Simply fire up your internet-ready device and direct your web browser to one of these online meccas, and you can double-down on the dealer while cooking breakfast in your PJs. Physical casinos will never be able to offer this level of comfort and access, and this Coronavirus layover may have lasting effects on the gaming industry.

A seismic shift toward online gambling could be coming to the casino industry, and we are likely experiencing the test-run right now.

Gaming Employees Demand Pay As COVID-19 Casino Closures Are Extended

Casino with shuttered doors

With all USA casinos closed throughout the United States, furloughed and laid-off workers are wondering where their next paycheck will come from. It will most likely not be from the casino that employs them, because most are not offering sick leave or paid time off.

Many casinos in Las Vegas have provided their workers two weeks’ pay. While that may seem generous when compared to the status of out of work employees who have not been paid at all, two-weeks’ compensation is not a significant enough amount of money to sustain a person or family throughout the duration of this pandemic.

Union leaders for casino workers from Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Mississippi, and New Orleans met via teleconference on Thursday, and many are criticizing the gaming industry, accusing them of sitting on piles of money that the employees helped them earn while pandemonium runs rampant.

Not all casinos are folding on their employees. ABC News reports that MGM Resorts has an $11 million contingency fund that it is using to assist their workers with anything from rent payments to medical bills. It is a nice gesture, but with the COVID-19 lockdown threatening to extend into the summer, those coffers will dry up quickly.

Some are suggesting a federal bailout for gaming facilities to continue salary payments and keep the casinos from going underwater. Unfortunately, almost all US states do not allow for their regulated gambling sites to offer online play of any kind.

With everyone stuck at home for the foreseeable future, mobile gaming could provide enjoyment for local gamblers and employment for at least a skeleton crew of workers that would not need to engage with the public and risk infection. As it sits, legitimate online casinos are raking in the cash while the domestic gaming industry sits idle.

Now, more than ever, the revenue that offshore betting sites capture from USA gamblers should alarm the industry and lawmakers. US gambling laws need to be revised in order to allow for online play across the board.

The big question on everyone’s mind is, when will the casinos reopen? As new medical data comes in, the outlook continues to change for an end to the projected quarantine timeline.

The first proposed date for reopening was set for early April and was then pushed back to early May. Now, many are choosing to state that they are closed until further notice. While the statement doesn’t offer any assurance for customers and employees, it does place the focus of top casino executives on more important issues than a hard date that no one can predict.

The one thing that’s for sure is, nothing is for sure. The entire gaming industry is being held in the balance of the next batch of medical data to be released. The best practice that casinos can do now is to post an indefinite reopening message and focus on the well-being of the employees that are struggling to stay afloat during this crisis.

COVID-19 Causes Extended Casino Closures And Inspires Mixed-Use For Facilities

Man Sleeping At Poker Table

With all land-based casinos inside of the USA closed because of the Coronavirus pandemic, some big-time industry leaders have stepped up to assist with quarantine and sanitization efforts. With Arkansas declaring that casino closures will extend through at least April 30, gaming facilities and hotels could become rescue centers and first aid shelters.

With US gaming laws providing for legitimate mobile casinos to become the top option for the gambling crowd, empty facilities and deep-pocketed casino owners have an opportunity to make a difference in the fight to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Sheldon Adelson Donates Two Million Masks To Trump, New York, Nevada

CEO and founder of Las Vegas Sands, Sheldon Adelson, has acquired two million surgical masks and will be donating them to a variety of efforts that are being hardest hit by the spread of the Coronavirus.

Two hundred fifty thousand masks will be given to the Trump administration and their COVID-19 task force. The rest of the 1.75 million masks will be split between Adelson’s home state of Nevada and New York state, which has become an epicenter for the virus.

The masks were soured from China, oddly enough, the same country where the first case of the virus appeared months ago. Adelson is a long time supporter of the Republican Party and was eager to support President Trump and Vice President Pence in their efforts to keep America safe.

Adelson has a net worth of just under $30 billion and is ranked 17th on the Forbes list of wealthiest Americans. His donation to fight the spread of the Coronavirus is considerable and has inspired other industry entities to join the cause.

Other area Las Vegas casinos have donated to local food banks and have given cash donations to local charities. Many entities have extended pay and benefits to employees who are out of work due to the closures, but not all are on board with staff support.

Just like with the US economy, and it’s expected record upturn in unemployment requests, Nevada and the gaming industry is expected to experience significant loss. Legitimate casinos and sportsbooks will undoubtedly open up for business again, but what’s not so certain is the effect the collateral damage will have on casino employees and vacationers planning on visiting the region.

Casino Hotels In Detroit Open For First Responders

The Greektown Casino and Hotel in Detroit has been closed for weeks but has recently opened it’s forty rooms to house firefighters, police officers, and medical professionals who do not want to travel home and risk exposing their family members to COVID-19.

Detroit has been hit particularly hard, and the Detroit News is reporting that 21 fire department members have come down with the Coronavirus. With infections so rampant in the inner-city, isolation is critical. The otherwise closed casino offers plenty of that.

The temporary residents of the hotel are under constant medical surveillance, and no quarantined or currently ill first responders are allowed to stay there. Other USA casinos will be required to donate their floor and hotel space before this epidemic has concluded.

Florida Casino Closures Prompt Bettors To Venture Offshore During Coronavirus Quarantine

Florida Casino Closures

Although many non-essential businesses have decided to shut down operations until the Coronavirus virus epidemic subsides, some casinos have defied the potential dangers and kept their doors open. The Seminole Casino Hotel in Immokalee, Florida, decided to remain open despite the Coronavirus claiming the life of a recent visitor.

Earlier this afternoon, NBC Miami reported that all Seminole Casino properties in the state of Florida will close at 6 PM today, triggering the closure of the Immokalee location.

“This decision was not taken lightly as Seminole Gaming employs nearly 14,000 Seminole Gaming team members in the state. The goal has been to protect their livelihood without jeopardizing public safety. We have now reached a point where we do not feel comfortable taking that risk.” – The Seminole Tribe of Florida

While attempting to stay open, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, the Seminole Casino sanitized all playing surfaces, powered down slot machines to allow for several feet of space between customers, and imposed table limits to curtail potential COVID-19 exposure.

Do these brick-and-mortar casinos have the best interest of the visiting gambler in mind?

Ensuring clean playing surfaces is a great preventative measure to contain the spread of a virus, but all it takes is one infected person to come in contact with said surface to endanger everyone else. With 500 coronavirus cases and 10 deaths so far in Florida, it’s about time the Seminole Tribe of Florida followed the lead of other land-based casinos and shut their doors.

Are in-person casino games worth the risk of exposure to a potentially deadly virus? Although some still think so, the best option is staying at home and placing a bet with a legitimate online casino. They offer all the excitement of the real thing with the same level of accuracy and fair play found at similar machines in land-based casinos.

The Seminole is located just north of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, home to many retirees and snow-birds, most of whom fall into the highest risk factor demographic of 60+ years of age. Many advanced aged citizens in the region frequent the Seminole as a pastime and have been doing so during the contagion.

No timeline has been given for reopening the Seminole casinos in Florida, leaving many gamblers seeking an alternative to physical casinos. With many legitimate mobile casino options available to US citizens who are stuck at home, perhaps its time that the older generation adapts to newer technology and embraces the use of online casinos.

Although Florida has not passed legislation allowing for the regulation of online in-state gambling, the lack of specific US online wagering laws on the books allows for legal wagering online at a top-rated offshore casino operating online.

If you are currently practicing social distancing and imposing a self-quarantine like all US citizens should be doing at this time, offshore casinos are the perfect solution for gamblers with extra time on their hands. Try a hand or two of online video poker to hold you over until this quarantine is over.

KISS Shout It Out Loud For Their New Rock Themed Casino In Biloxi, MS

KISS Casino

You wanted the best casino. You got the best casino. The hottest band in the land’s casino? KISS! That’s right. The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame band KISS, who has famously lent their names to just about anything commercially producible, is building a new casino in Biloxi, MS.

Of course, it’s not the original four members of the group. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons are the only original members that remain, and together they helm the massive KISS empire that has produced everything from Hollywood motion pictures to KISS themed caskets.

The new casino is an extension of KISS’s Rock & Brews brand. They currently own 21 restaurants under that title. The proposed casino will be built on the location where Margaritaville Casino sits presently. It has been closed since 2014, and the city of Biloxi is looking forward to revitalizing that section of its gaming strip.

KISS and their empire are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but they are not entering this venture alone. The $200 million Rock & Brews Casino is being co-financed by RAM Development. Construction will not begin until the group receives approval from the State Gaming Commission and the Biloxi Planning Commission. Gambling Laws have allowed for casinos in Biloxi since 1992.

Despite regulation hurdles not being cleared just yet, WLOX is reporting that construction is expected to begin in 2020.

So what will the new casino include? Casinos in the USA are nothing new, so how will this one differ? What we do know is that the casino will contain a concert venue that can seat 3,000 people, at least one massive restaurant, a 200-room hotel, and of course, a large casino floor. But what about Rock & Roll memorabilia?

There’ll be plenty of historical items from the extensive timeline of rock music decorating the halls of the new casino. If it is anything like the décor of their restaurants, then the focus will not be on KISS at all. Instead, artifacts from many of the artists featured on classic rock radio will adorn the walls of the entire building.

KISS has been on their “The End is Near…” tour for over a year now, and they have declared that it will be their final tour before putting away their makeup and guitars for good. Even though they are on the road, Simmons and Stanley have kept their eye on the ball regarding their financial interests.

Rock & Brews Restaurants debuted in 2012, and their 21 locations range from large metropolitan areas of the United States to popular airports. It is an odd pairing if you know the history of Gene Simons, who has never had a drink of alcohol in his life.

That’s never stopped KISS from benefiting from an economic opportunity. Cash is king in KISS’s world, and they’ve got a full line of products to prove it. Adding a legitimate casino to their portfolio should surprise no one.

The casino is preparing for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that will take place on March 15th. KISS performs a concert in Biloxi on that date, and Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and other investors involved in the project are expected to be on hand for the ribbon-cutting.

Encore Boston Harbor: Without The Human Element, Why Not Just Play Online?

encore boston harbor cuts bartender staff

Everything ties into politics these days, doesn’t it?

First, the regulatory rigmarole of the Encore Boston Harbor threatened to derail the $2.6 billion project on more than one occasion. Then, the political fallout surrounding Steve Wynn’s alleged sexual misconduct caused another delay, including the potential withholding of the venue’s gambling license even as the casino resort was nearly fully built.

Now, as forewarned by former Democratic Presidential candidate and political newcomer Andrew Yang, automation is slashing some of the jobs from the casino.

As reported by ABC’s WCVB5, the Encore Boston Harbor has replaced between 40-50 bartenders with automated drink-dispensing kiosks.

Remember, these (now former) jobs were a big part of the sales pitch from Wynn Resorts to the MA legislature when they sought to get this project off the ground in September 2014.

Now, with automation taking some of the positions over so quickly, there’s likely little confidence that every remaining job at the Encore is safe for the foreseeable future.

That’s especially true given the tenuous rationale proffered by Encore management, who says they needed machine bartenders because they didn’t staff enough human bartenders to meet their customers’ comped drink needs.

Obviously, the casino could have simply hired more bartenders, further endearing the venue to the local community. Now, the negative publicity of an employee purge just seven months into the casino’s operational existence is a reality that Wynn Resorts must face.

Management, of course, is explaining the move as a boon for the affected employees. Warren Richards, Encore’s executive director of food and beverage services, spins the issue:

“A lot of [the affected workers] actually moved into a higher hourly rate position stocking the bars with all of the product which is now automated.”

Long a regional political issue, Yang helped make automation part of the general national discourse, though it’s unclear whether or not the rank in file in Washington – and in statehouses nationwide – have paid enough attention.

Typically, when automation is mentioned, the public thinks of factories and assembly lines, as in the auto industry.

But these industries had their robot revolutions a long time ago.

No, the new automation – the automation that Yang did his best to warn everyone about (but perhaps didn’t explain in an adequately granular fashion) – is far more mundane and everyday in nature.

At the Encore Boston Harbor, automation has replaced the bartenders. At the local insurance office down the street, automation will replace the receptionist. Data entry jobs are on the outs, and content writing is on its last legs, too (gulp!). Bet on it.

Speaking of bets, casinos like the Encore Boston Harbor were – ironically – not able to take bets on Yang’s Presidential election odds, as the state legislature has been dragging its feet for nearly two years on the subject of legalizing sports betting.

However, even when the pastime is finally greenlit in the Bay State, it is unlikely that political betting will be part of the package.

But even if you can’t bet on Yang in Massachusetts, you can probably bet on some of his policies – and his warning.

When casinos become a bastion of blinking lights at the tables and slots as well as in the kitchen and bar, people are going to bail on them. Gamblers like to gamble, but the entire point of a brick-and-mortar casino is the human experience. Human service. Human touch. Without that, you might as well stay home.

Indeed, many gamblers are doing just that – staying home. Legitimate online casino sites have millions of US members playing their hundreds of casino, slot, and card games each day, and that number is simply growing.

States may do their best to limit or ban domestic online casino options in the hope that such will drive customers to retail gambling venues, but the impersonality of automation will kill that initiative in its tracks.

Online casinos are already superior in numerous appreciable – and sometimes critical – ways to their real-life counterparts, and without the human element, the giant structures may turn into giant white elephants sooner than later.

Coronavirus Spreads Renewed Interest In Legal Online Casinos

coronavirus underscores benefits of online gambling

Brick-and-mortar casinos are big business, and the recent legalization of sports betting across over a dozen US states – and the potential for dozens more – has brought the wider scope of gambling into focus legislatively.

States that formerly eschewed traditional gambling houses are revisiting the ideas with gusto, and the entire industry is growing. However, while sports betting is largely being allowed both in-person and online, online casino games and poker have largely been dismissed even in the current liberalized climate.

But that could finally be changing.

While the catalyst for embracing legitimate casinos over the Internet should be individual rights and freedom of choice and similar quaint little notions, reality is a bit more cynical:

The outbreak of the coronavirus is steering this discussion.

Though the new, deadly flu isn’t a big threat in the US just yet, it’s hit Asia hard. Just this week, the world’s biggest retail casino district – Macau – saw all its venues shuttered indefinitely, at a local economic loss of hundreds of millions of dollars per week.

Given China’s ground zero status and the fact that its online casino ban promotes high volume person-to-person contact in the gambling marketplace, critics and proponents have taken control of the narrative to push the idea that online gambling is safer, healthier, and fundamentally better for any large society.

Indeed, as a response to the coronavirus’ spread, Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators – or POGOs – have seen a reported 90% increase in traffic over the last month.

POGOs serve Chinese residents with the Internet-based real money gambling solutions Beijing disallows domestically, and the spike in participation is proof positive that millions of users view online gaming as the better option for now.

Of course, this narrative isn’t just limited to China and other ASEAN countries.

Las Vegas, Nevada – while not quite the financial heavy hitter that Macau is in the gambling world – actually sees more tourism traffic than the Chinese city, and fears are growing stateside that Sin City venues could become a viral hotspot for the coronavirus.

While Chinese travel bans are currently being enforced, there is no guarantee that the popular Nevada gaming center won’t be affected by the strain. Like Macau (and China in toto), NV does not have online casino gaming or slots available to residents and visitors.

In fact, the coronavirus is already affecting certain aspects of the Las Vegas casino market, with mainstay entertainment brand Cirque du Soleil pulling its performers due to fear of infection.

Whether or not the virus du jour will become a serious global catastrophe remains to be seen, though similarly hyped ailments – like SARS and swine flu – eventually subsided without causing mass destruction.

Still, it shouldn’t take a literal existential threat to promote common sense policies like the legalization of online casino gaming.

In fact, such gaming isn’t even actually barred by US gambling laws, it is merely heavily restricted by the government when it comes to operators doing business inside the country.

If you’re an avid gambler – or even a beginner who’s currently scared off from the casino circuit due to the coronavirus or other group-based considerations – you can gamble safely and legally online right now.

All you have to do is join a reputable offshore casino site, make a deposit, and start playing. When you play online, you can breathe easy – in more ways than one!

Virginia Legislature Poised To Legalize Brick-And-Mortar Casinos

virginia casino legislation 2020

They say that Virginia is for Lovers™. But if you love gambling, the state definitely isn’t for you.

But that could finally be changing.

The upcoming legislative session in Virginia is poised to be a once-in-a-generation push for various partisan policies. Chief among these in the mainstream news media has been a host of gun control proposals sprouting up from the new Democratic majority in the VA House of Representatives, but there is a major casino debate shaping up, as well.

Virginia, despite its progressive bent and status as a northeast tourist destination, has been one of the most restrictive states in the US when it comes to gambling freedoms. Aside from various charitable gaming carveouts and the state lottery, Virginia has fought tooth and nail against casinos and accessible gambling in the state.

Of course, the mass adoption of legal sports betting in the post-PASPA environment has caused a renewed interest not just in sports wagering but in casino gaming across the board, and it seems like VA lawmakers are now seriously considering the good that a robust brick-and-mortar casino market could bring to the table.

In 2019, the Virginia legislature conducted a study on the impact that domestic casino venues would make in the state, basing the research on the development of five resort casino destinations in five Virginia regions: Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Norfolk, and Portsmouth.

The research – carried out by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) – indicates that these five venues would generate roughly $260 million in tax revenue and create a minimum of 5000 jobs in the state.

“It’s a no-brainer,” per Sen. Louise Lucas (D), though various conservative groups have raised concerns over increases in gambling addiction and crime that allegedly accompanies so many local casino initiatives in surrounding states. Though such a tenuous causal relationship has been difficult to prove, the argument persists.

Ironically, however, one of the primary opponents of legalized Virginia casino gaming is the ownership group of Colonial Downs, the state’s only horse racing track.

The track – and its several satellite locations – offers historical horse racing (HHR) gaming, which is a real-money amusement akin to slots that controversially bypasses most established definitions of “gambling.”

According to Colonial Downs COO Aaron Gomes, a legal casino in Richmond would be “catastrophic” to the company, resulting in a 45 percent drop in annual revenue.

Of course, some states – like New Jersey – have used expanded gambling legislation to establish grants or profit-shares for horse racing operators, and that could be a solution in Virginia, as well, particularly if this remains a sticking point in Congress.

While casino legalization is likely to finally bear fruit in the Old Dominion, the debate nevertheless promises to be a protracted one. Pro-gambling delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) sets the scope and timeline:

“We will be working with the other cities across the state who’ve been named [in the proposed legislation] to try and move Bristol and Danville, Richmond, Norfolk and Portsmouth forward. I think we’ll start meeting early next week, and the casino legislation will probably go up to the last day.”

In the meantime, it’s important to note that none of VA’s gaming proposals will address the legality of legitimate offshore casino sites, all of which remain safe and lawful to use for Virginia gamblers.

If you’ve already joined one or more such site and gamble regularly, the local options on the table in Virginia might not seem all that compelling.

However, many players who remain on the fence about offshore gaming will surely benefit from local solutions, especially if Virginia is forward-thinking enough to install online casino options as well.