Live Poker’s Slow Return: Could be a year before casinos at full capacity

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Posted on: April 27, 2020 5:15 pm EDT

The Chief Executive Officer of one of the biggest gaming companies on the planet believes it will take approximately one year before the casino industry in the United States is able to run at pre-pandemic levels.

Hard Rock International Chairman Jim Allen says that while regional casinos may rebound faster than other casinos, the overall tourism industry will struggle for quite some time.

Owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, Hard Rock International owns a number of casinos, hotels, and cafes all over the world. Some of its biggest and most popular properties are located in Florida, including the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

This year, the property opened a major expansion that includes a giant guitar-shaped hotel. The property shut its doors on March 20th, 2020 and remains closed for the health and safety of all guests.

The property includes a poker room with 40 tables offering various games and tournaments of Limit and No Limit Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo and 7-Card Stud.

For a preview of how long the rebound might take, take a look at the Asian market. Hard Rock has a property in Shenzen, just outside of Hong Kong. While the property has been opened for almost a month as the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the casino is operating at 12% capacity.

So which casinos will rebound the fastest? According to Allen, those that attract business by car rather than air will rebound the quickest.

It’s not yet clear what a reopened casino would look like. In the final days before the statewide shutdown, Hard Rock employed some stringent social distancing measures, including having one slot machine on followed by four off, and only allowing three individuals at a gaming table.

While a less-crowded experience isn’t problematic at tables where players are betting against the house, it could be an issue at the poker tables where more bodies in seats means more chips in play and bigger pots.