Ameristars Will Be The First MO Casinos To Reopen Their Doors

Posted on May 28, 2020

Boyd Gaming, which operates properties in several states, announced it would reopen its Missouri properties per local ordinances on Monday.

The MO Gaming Commission greenlit casino reopening with restrictions on June 1. Ameristar Kansas City and Ameristar St. Charles will be among those to pounce on the opportunity.

Details on the Missouri Ameristar casinos reopening

Boyd Gaming’s two MO casinos are in the most populous areas in the state. For that reason, there are local restrictions on nonessential businesses that supersede statewide orders from Gov. Mike Parson and the MO Gaming Commission.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas instituted a “10/10/10 rule” for nonessential businesses, effective May 15. The order restricts the casino to 10% of its capacity on the gaming floor. The on-site restaurants, however, can accommodate more guests as long as there are at least 10 feet between tables and six feet between parties.

In St. Charles County, there is a similar 10% restriction for businesses engaged in retail sales to the public in buildings greater than 10,000 square feet. The county’s order is clear that the restrictions do not apply to hotels and restaurants, however.

Neither Kansas City nor St. Charles County requires casino employees to submit to temperature screenings or wear masks. Both governments do encourage all businesses to institute such policies, however.

As the operator of both facilities, Boyd has made masks mandatory for all employees. In addition, the casinos will take other measures to ensure safety. Those include:

  • Mandatory temperature checks for all team members.
  • Social distancing requirements and capacity restrictions across all customer and team member areas, including casino floors and restaurants.
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitation of all high-touch surfaces, including door handles, gaming machines, table games, handrails and elevator buttons.
  • Increased placement of hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the properties.
  • Required training for all team members on safety protocols.

Boyd encourages customers to wear masks in areas where gaming will require them to be near employees or each other, as casinos in other states have done. This includes while playing table games and riding elevators.

What about other MO casinos?

So far, the Ameristar Casinos in Kansas City and St. Charles are the only of the Show-Me State’s 13 gaming facilities to announce a reopening date. However, the other 11 are free to open on Monday.

What may be holding up other casinos in the state is preparedness to meet distancing and sanitation standards upon reopening. The operators may want to take time to ensure staff is trained to maintain the protocols as well.

The big incentive for getting back up and running, even in a limited capacity, is monetary. There is also some evidence that casino patrons are itching to get back to gaming.

This past weekend, Silver Slipper in Bay St. Louis, MS, actually saw a near-13% increase in win as compared with the same time frame in 2019. While it may be unfounded for Boyd to anticipate similar results at its MO properties, one Boyd executive is optimistic.

“We are excited for the opportunity to resume operations in NevadaMissouri and Iowa, as our nationwide operations continue to return to business. So far, we are encouraged by the enthusiastic response we have seen from our customers in LouisianaMississippi and Kansas following our reopenings in those states,” said President and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming Keith Smith.

If Boyd’s MO casinos are the only two such facilities to reopen on Monday, they may enjoy a bit of a head start over their competitors. How much revenue that edge translates to will depend on how eager Missourians, and residents of other nearby states, are to get back to gaming.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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