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Back to the Casino!

Musings of a Bubble Boy: the gadgets, gizmos and gimmicks that will allow us to return to casino operations

Back to the Casino!

So, it looks like everyone’s ready to start operating casinos again—with restrictions, of course, meant to protect everyone from all the microbes flying around out there.

If anything is certain in this crazy time, it is that technological innovation is poised to save the industry, with a number of innovative schemes being proposed that can allow patrons and employees to safely return once casinos are permitted to reopen.

No, we’re not going to turn on a light switch and have things be like they were before. But the good news is that there is a wealth of technology being introduced that will at least get everyone safely back in business.

From what I understand, the latest plan is to have each individual customer inside a transparent bubble, like the Bubble Boy. Bubble Boys and Bubble Girls will roam the casino floor, comingling with Bubble Dealers and Bubble Croupiers and Bubble Pit Bosses. (The latter will have black bubble shirts with white bubble ties.)

In an alternate plan, customers will don NASA space suits at the door. They will travel among machines and gaming tables in small Mars rovers (bearing the casino’s logo, of course). There will be special zero-gravity areas where customers can golf like the astronauts did on the Moon.

Seriously, though, while I’m sure I will sample the “new normal” casino floor, it will be because it’s the only way to get back to the “old normal,” which is the normal that I like. That’s the normal where I throw dice and cheer with a bunch of other humans, and where still other other humans bring me stiff drinks that I don’t have to pay for.

To get there, we’ll have to deal with whatever is needed to keep health and safety in place, even if it means betting through a Plexiglas shield like the one at 7-Eleven.

Here’s an idea: Let me rent your casino, like Elvis used to do with amusement parks. I’ll rent the casino and the hotel room, with only room service for meals. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be the whole casino. Just open one craps table and one video poker game—8/5 Bonus Poker, if you please. I would only ask for maybe three other craps players in addition to the table staff, all properly vetted and tested for hygiene, and everybody wearing masks, of course.

We’ll have a great time playing craps, and then I’ll play video poker until I hit a royal flush or the sun comes up, whichever is first. It will be just like the old days!

This, of course, would be a pilot program for a safe room offer that can be granted to very wealthy people during the current shutdown, for maybe half a million a night or more. I, of course, would be offering my services to do the pilot test stay. I wouldn’t even charge the casino.

Hey, it’s the kind of guy I am. I’ll do it for the good of the industry—not because I’m having any kind of withdrawal from casino gambling, mind you. It’s not like I’m binge-watching the Ocean’s Eleven movies, Rounders and Casino. It’s not like I tell my wife she has to make her point before I do the dishes.

Really, it’s not like that at all.

But as I write this, the big buzz in the biz is about the gadgets, gizmos and gimmicks that will allow us to return to casino operations. (I know; gimme a break. I’ve been home for two months.) In this issue of Global Gaming Business, you’ll find a showcase of some of the products that will assure a safe return to business. There are shields, there are UV lamps, there are uber-cleansers that last for days. There is stuff that will continuously disinfect chips, cards, dice, shufflers, tables, chairs, discarded chewing gum wrappers and trouser lint.

OK, I made the last two up. But the rest of that stuff is actually going to start appearing as we all tiptoe back into the casinos and ever-so-gingerly begin to once again leave all our disposable income, sanitized though it may be, on the disinfected felt of the New Normal Casino, Hotel, Spa and Sanitized Decompression Chamber.

Don’t forget to stop at the door. You’ll need to be monitored for body temperature, facial characteristics, pre-existing conditions, and net worth in cash.

I still like the Bubble Boy idea.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.