Updated: Mississippi casinos reopen after two-month closure due to coronavirus Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · May 21, 2020 at 4:20 pm Mississippi became the second major commercial gaming state to reopen its casino business Thursday, roughly two months after the more than $2 billion industry was closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the major gaming companies announced the reopenings in Mississippi under state and locally mandated health and safety guidelines that include limited amenities, capacity restrictions, enhanced cleaning procedures, and the use of personal protective equipment. Casinos have reconfigured gaming floors to comply with social distancing guidelines. Some casinos and resorts have said they will suspend gaming activity for a certain time each day to disinfect the machines and tables. Plastic shields have been installed around cashiers’ stations. The state Gaming Commission limits the numbers of players for blackjack and other table games. Casinos are required to set up hand sanitizing stations. Louisiana became the first major commercial state to reopen on Monday. According to the American Gaming Association, 137 commercial and tribal casinos have reopened in the last two weeks in more than a dozen states after the COVID-19 outbreak closed nearly 1,000 gaming properties in 43 states. “We successfully opened our properties in Louisiana on Monday, and we are excited to welcome back our guests in Mississippi,” Eldorado Resorts President Anthony Carano said in a statement. The Reno-based company reopened Isle of Capri in Lula, Lady Luck Casino Vicksburg, and Tropicana Casino in Greenville. Mississippi, with 26 casinos, is one of the largest commercial gaming markets, producing $2.14 billion gaming revenue and a total economic impact of $4.41 billion, according to the AGA. The state’s casinos support more than 37,200 jobs and paid just under $1 billion to the state in tax revenues and tribal gaming revenue share. At least three dozen people stood in line waiting to get into WaterView Casino in Vicksburg as it opened Thursday. A manager came outside to do a countdown until opening. Customers were allowed to enter one at a time. They were screened for COVID-19 symptoms and were offered masks, although many already had their own. Notes were attached to video games and slot machines, reminding customers and staff to sanitize the machines before each use. Stickers placed on the floor to tell people to remain at least 6 feet apart. MGM Resorts International said earlier this week it would reopen its Gold Strike Casino in Tunica on Monday and the Beau Rivage in Biloxi on June 1. Other companies reopened Thursday. Penn National Gaming, which reopened five casinos in Louisiana on Monday, reopened another five casinos in Mississippi on Thursday – 1st Jackpot Casino Tunica, Ameristar Casino Hotel Vicksburg, Boomtown Casino Biloxi, Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast, and Hollywood Casino Tunica. “We are continuing to work closely with our regulators and state and local leaders to prepare for the eventual reopening of all of our properties nationwide,” Penn National CEO Jay Snowden said in a statement. Boyd Gaming, which reopened three Louisiana casinos on Monday, reopened IP Casino Resort in Biloxi and Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Tunica. Las Vegas-based Full House Resorts reopened the Silver Slipper in Bay St. Louis. The hotel-casino accounts for 44% of the company’s annual revenues. Churchill Downs reopened Harlow’s Casino Resort & Spa in Greenville and Riverwalk Casino Hotel in Vicksburg. A few casino operators saw their stock prices increase Thursday. Eldorado Resorts closed at $32.68, up $1.43 or 4.58%, while Penn National shares rose $2.84, or 10.61% to close at $29.65. (Associated Press contributed to this report) Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.