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Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, several states are seeing their lottery and gaming sales rise as the summer progresses. With many states still prohibiting indoor dining, casinos have found ways to accommodate more customers with outside seating areas. Numerous local and national chains have laid off thousands of workers during the pandemic, and it is unlikely many of them will return to work with the casinos operating at greatly reduced capacity. Still, management teams are assembling dedicated cleanliness and sanitation teams to ensure another government mandated shutdown does not occur.

Top 3 News Highlights This Week

  1. New York State is in phase four of its reopening plan from Long Island to Buffalo, but casinos still aren’t operating. Locations not owned by Native American tribes are still waiting to get approval from Governor Andrew Cuomo. Valerie McIntyre, an employee at Waterloo's del Lago, has reached out to elected officials and started a petition to get the state’s attention. According to del Lago, they announced a furlough of more than 1,000 employees in mid-July and are continuing to provide health insurance for employees through October.
  2. On Thursday, Navajo Nation leaders continued discussions about proposed expenditure plans for the tribe's remaining federal COVID-19 aid, which could include allocating more than $20 million to its four casinos following mass layoffs. This week the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise's CEO announced they laid off about 900 of its more than 1,000 employees. He said another 140 employees could face layoffs early next week as the enterprise was running low on cash reserves due to casino closures. The enterprise's closure appears to fall in line with the Navajo Nation's government closures, which were recently extended to Aug. 16.
  3. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in an executive order issued on Wednesday, gave the go-ahead Wednesday for Detroit's three casinos to open at 15% capacity on August 5. They must conduct a daily entry screening protocol for customers and employees, including temperature screening, and require patrons to wear a face covering, except while eating or drinking or for identification purposes.