Indiana Casinos Hit With New COVID-19 Rules Just As Restrictions Began To Ease

Just as things were starting to ease up, Indiana casinos have a new set of pandemic safety rules to follow.

The Indiana Gaming Commission just added a new set of requirements to help lower the spread of COVID-19.

Those rules don’t apply to many casinos right now, but that could change in the near future.

Indiana tweaks safety plan for casinos

The new set of safety requirements builds upon the set of rules that casinos were already following.

Right now, Indiana is using a color-coded system to track the spread of COVID.

Each of the state’s 92 counties receives a color grade based on how well the area they are in is containing the pandemic. The color system updates every Wednesday.

  • Blue CountiesLow COVID spread, things are looking great
  • Yellow CountiesModerate community spread
  • Orange Counties: High level of COVID spread
  • Red Counties: Very high levels of community COVID spread

Restrictions have been easing up until now, since things have been going well for the vast majority of the state’s counties.

Thankfully, that’s still the case.

According to the latest stats, Indiana no longer has any orange or red counties. That’s a big change from December, when every county in the state was either orange or red.

Most of Indiana’s casinos are in blue counties at the moment. However, the following casinos are in yellow zones:

  • Caesars Southern Indiana
  • Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg 
  • Rising Star Casino 
  • Indiana Grand Casino 

Those casinos will have to follow the new requirements.

The new set of safety rules is designed to help keep things where they are.

The gaming commission doesn’t want safety to start slipping since Indiana has worked hard to get where it’s at in the fight against the pandemic.

Coronavirus casino capacity

First and foremost, every casino in the state still has to follow the basic mask and social distancing requirements.

Indiana’s new COVID rules only apply to casinos that are not in blue counties. If your go-to gambling spot is in a yellow, orange or red zone, then you’ll have a few extra hoops to jump through.

If a casino’s county drops to a worse color, then the property has 24 hours to get into compliance with the new safety rules.

Conversely, if a county improves its color status, then it will have to stay that way for at least two-straight weeks before casinos in the area can ease up on the restrictions.

Blue zone casino occupancy is tied to the number of gaming positions available with social distancing plus 75%, or 75% capacity. Casinos have to use whichever number is lower.

That number drops to 50% for yellow and orange counties, and all the way down to 35% in red areas.

The number of players at table games also changes for casinos in counties that are yellow or worse:

  • Roulette- four players
  • Poker games- five players
  • Craps- six players

Every other table game such as blackjack can only have three players at once.

Extra rules for orange and red zones

It’s no surprise, but the counties doing the worst with COVID will have the most restrictions on their casinos.

Once a county hits the orange zone, there are all sorts of extra rules to follow.

For example, casinos can no longer offer beverage service on the casino floor. Self-service drink stations will also have to shut down.

Speaking of beverages, gamblers will have to move to a special area in order to drink, eat or smoke. No more sipping a cocktail while you play at a slot machine.

Bar top machines and even valet service are also prohibited for casinos in orange counties.

The only extra rule for red county casinos is that 15% drop in capacity.

The vast majority of extra rules take effect once a county hits yellow or orange status.

Thankfully, Indiana only has four casinos that are in those zones right now.

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Jake Garza

Jake Garza is a US Gambling Industry Analyst for Catena Media. He specializes in Midwest sports betting and casino content. Prior to covering the legal gambling industry, he spent time as a professional sports writer, reporting on teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. Garza is currently working as a Managing Editor for Play Indiana and PlayOhio, with previous stops at other well-known brands such as PlayIllinois and PlayMichigan. He has been covering the gambling industry since 2019, and currently works with a team of other journalists to provide comprehensive coverage of the legal U.S. gambling industry.

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