Currently the world is being affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus, or COVID-19 (short for “coronavirus disease 2019”). Gatherings of as few as 100 people have been banned in some areas and sports organizations such as the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Soccer (MLS) and several college basketball conferences (but not, interestingly enough, the NCAA Tournament) have suspended their operations and even Major League Baseball (MLB) has delayed Opening Day for two weeks. With this info in mind, several gaming companies and poker rooms have announced how they are handling the pandemic (as declared by the World Health Organization earlier this week).
Similar Statements Across the Board
For the most part, the official statements from the gaming companies and poker rooms that Poker News Daily has received have been quite similar in their approach. The organizations are looking to get across that they are being significantly proactive in their approach to sanitizing their properties and equipment, but they’re making sure it is known that they are open for business. In most cases, their statements do go a bit deeper than just a “ALL IS WELL!” statement.
Seminole Gaming, responsible for the entirety of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino properties in Florida, issued a brief statement. “As the COVID-19/coronavirus situation evolves, the safety of our team members and guests remains paramount. We’re working hard to do everything we can to be prepared and address your concerns,” David Hoenemeyer, the Chief Operating Officer for Seminole Gaming, wrote in a statement. They didn’t, however, go into detail on what exactly they were doing to combat the threat.
The Bicycle Casino in Bell Gardens, CA, were a bit more open about their procedures. “We have implemented new advanced sanitation protocols, increasing the frequency of disinfectant procedures around all heavily-trafficked and high touchpoint areas including chips, playing cards, chairs, gaming tables, rails and elevator buttons,” their statement read. “(We are) Also encouraging proactive prevention by supplying more hand sanitizer stations, making surgical masks available, and allowing our staff who have traveled to specific areas to self-quarantine with pay.”
Another gaming outlet in Florida, Derby Lane Kennel Club in St. Petersburg, FL, has also been quite open about their actions, down to naming the actual disinfectant they would use. “Our housekeeping department has been using AF-315, a disinfectant and viricidal cleaning agent, for the past three years,” Derby Lane President Richard Winning wrote to customers. “They will also begin to institute the use of Shockwave Disinfectant & Cleaner by Fiberlock Technologies when cleaning the facility.”
Caesars, WSOP Monitoring, PokerStars LIVE Events Postponed
As reported yesterday by my friend and colleague Dan Katz, PokerStars has also taken some proactive steps regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. The organization announced that they would be suspending all their PokerStars LIVE events until April 10. This will have an impact (the tournaments are not canceled but postponed) on three events in Germany, Spain and France, but three schedules outside of Europe – the Okada Manila Millions (Philippines), the Brazilian Series of Poker’s stop in Sao Paulo and the European Poker Tour event in Sochi, Russia – will continue as scheduled.
The World Series of Poker is roughly eleven weeks away (begins May 27) and Caesars Entertainment is keeping an eye on all proceedings, but the event is currently still scheduled to start on its assigned day. What officials with the WSOP and Caesars are more concerned about is their WSOP-Circuit events that are on the schedule over the next few weeks. There are four schedules on the roster alone in March for the WSOP-C – The Bike in California, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, OK, Bally’s in Las Vegas and the Horseshoe Council Bluffs in Iowa – and those events are still scheduled. A source for Caesars says that they are closely watching the situations in these areas.
As always, the situation is in a state of flux and everyone should be prepared to adapt to circumstances. In the meantime, it is useful to follow the guidance of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for good hygiene and etiquette to combat the COVID-10 virus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.