Sam’s Town Tunica Opening Thursday With Slots But No Table Games

Posted on May 19, 2020

Joining the chorus of casino reopening announcements across the country, on Monday Boyd Gaming Corporation announced its plan to reopen several of its properties over this week and next. That includes Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Tunica.

Boyd Gaming will reopen three Louisiana properties on Wednesday and two more next week. Meanwhile, in Mississippi, both Sam’s Town Tunica and the IP Casino Resort Spa in Biloxi will begin welcoming back visitors this Thursday, May 21.

Sam’s Town will initially offer slots only

Located just a 45-minute drive from Memphis, Sam’s Town Tunica has been closed since March 16 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

In its press release announcing the reopenings, Boyd Gaming explained how “the properties will operate with limited amenities and capacity restrictions” in order to comply with state and local requirements.

“The health and safety of our customers, our team members, and our communities will be our highest priority,” said President and CEO of Boyd Gaming Kevin Smith.

The Louisiana and Mississippi properties are the first to reopen for Boyd Gaming. The company operates 29 properties in 10 different states. Smith added he is “optimistic” the company will be able to reopen most of its properties over the coming weeks.
The doors will open at Sam’s Town Tunica on Thursday at 11 a.m. According to WPTY in Memphis, only slot machines will be available initially in the casino.

Protocols and guidelines to ensure health and safety

After ordering all of the state’s casinos to cease operations in mid-March, the Mississippi Gaming Commission announced late last week that casinos were permitted to reopen at their discretion starting at 8 a.m. on May 21.

Sam’s Town announcement included the description of a set of protocols called the “Boyd Clean” initiative aimed to protect the health of both customers and employees. These protocols include:

  • Face coverings and temperature checks for employees
  • Additional safety training for all employees
  • Social distancing requirements in all areas, including in the casinos and restaurants
  • Increased availability of hand sanitizer dispensers
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitation of all high-touch surfaces, including gaming machines and table games

Additional “Boyd Clean” measures listed on the Sam’s Town Tunica website describe guest health screenings upon arrival and recommendations to guests that they wear face coverings.

These and other measures adhere to the extensive “Phase One Casino Reopening Guidelines” issued by the Mississippi Gaming Commission last Friday, available here via WLOX in Biloxi.

Those guidelines provide additional details regarding guest screenings and other safety measures while also list restrictions such as a three-player maximum at table games. Additionally, the poker rooms still remaining closed until further notice.

According to the American Gaming Association, as of Tuesday morning, 82 of the nation’s 989 commercial and tribal casinos have reopened in some capacity after all were shut down due to the pandemic.

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Martin Harris

Martin Harris is a writer and teacher who has reported on poker, online gambling, and sports betting since the mid-2000s. Once a full-time academic (Ph.D., English), he currently teaches part-time in the American Studies program at UNC Charlotte. His book Poker & Pop Culture was published by D&B Books in 2019.

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