Hard Rock Casinos in Florida May Soon Reopen, Company Chairman Anticipates Large Crowds

Posted on: May 13, 2020, 11:21h. 

Last updated on: May 13, 2020, 11:33h.

Hard Rock casinos in Florida could open later this month, welcomed news to Sunshine State residents itching to spin a slot machine or test their luck on a table game.

Hard Rock casinos Florida Seminole
Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen says the company’s casinos are taking a state-by-state and country-by-country approach to reopening. (Image: AFP)

Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen appeared on FOX Business this morning to discuss the casino operator’s reopening plans. The Seminole Tribe of Florida, which owns Hard Rock, has six casinos in Florida, as well as gaming properties in Atlantic City, Mississippi, Nevada, California, Iowa, Oklahoma, Canada, and Punta Cana.

As for the company’s casinos, he says it’s a case-by-case situation bringing them back online. The Florida casinos all closed March 20. Allen says they will likely reopen at the end of May or early June.

“We’re anticipating very large crowds,” Allen said. “Our max capacity that we’re going to allow is about 50 percent, as we kind of navigate – most importantly – the safety of our guests and our employees.”

Along with its 11 domestic and international casinos, Hard Rock has properties in 76 countries, including 180 cafes and 24 hotels.

Long-Term Concerns

Casinos across the country will find out whether Americans are ready to flock back to their gaming floors once permitted to reopen. A recent survey from Piplsay research concluded that 64 percent of Americans think reopening economies in May is too soon.

One of the first casinos to reopen – Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort, a tribal venue – saw big crowds after opening earlier this month. Allen expects the same in Florida. But that isn’t his greatest concern for the Hard Rock casino business.

Frankly, we’re more concerned with the third quarter, fourth quarter, first quarter of next year,” Allen explained. “I think after the initial pent-up demand is behind us, then the question is, what’s the frequency and available discretionary income to come to an entertainment facility such as an integrated resort?”

Allen revealed the casino experience will be much different in the immediate future. Safety precautions, such as plexiglass separating dealers from gamblers at table games and mandatory vacant gaming positions between players, will be implemented.

Blackjack tables will have dividers, with a maximum of four players each. Sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the Hard Rock resorts.

Temperature screenings will also be conducted at all entrances. Allen says each machine costs around $15,000-$20,000, so for a large property like Hard Rock Atlantic City “that has so many doors, you’re talking hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Commercial Closures

Tribal casinos operated on sovereign land do not need to abide by state orders. That, of course, isn’t the case for commercial properties.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to all 989 commercial and tribal casinos in the US temporarily shuttering. Hard Rock operates both tribal casinos and commercial gaming ventures.

According to the American Gaming Association, 966 casino remain closed. Twenty-three casinos are back open for business, most of which are Native American facilities. The commercial exception is in Deadwood, where last week the South Dakota gaming town allowed casinos to unlock their doors.