Wind Creek Reopens Alabama Casinos

Casino and hospitality company Wind Creek Hospitality is set to reopen today its three electronic bingo casinos in Alabama.

The operator and its facilities are owned and managed by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, Alabama’s only federally recognized tribe. The tribe’s three properties in its home state are located in Montgomery, Atmore, and Wetumpka.

Wind Creek voluntarily closed its Alabama casinos in mid-March to help curb the coronavirus outbreak. The company announced plans to resume operations late last month.

When the three facilities open doors later today, they will operate at limited capacity. Wind Creek will be limiting the number of patrons on the casino floor to one-third of normal operations. All guests on the gaming floor will be required to wear face masks or other face coverings.

The casinos will be open to the public in four sessions every day and throughout the day. Deep cleaning will be performed between sessions. Casino staff will be cleaning the gaming machines between guests.

Jay Dorris, CEO and President of Wind Creek Hospitality, said that players will not be required to make reservations, but the casinos will offer a reservation system for people to use to book playing time, if they feel inclined to do so.

Company’s Pennsylvania Casino to Remain Closed for Now

While Wind Creek’s Alabama casinos are gearing up preparations to reopen, it is still unknown when the company’s property in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania is set to resume operations. The property closed doors in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wind Creek purchased the Bethlehem property last year from Las Vegas Sands in a $1.3 billion deal. The company announced that it would add a new hotel to the existing gaming facility. The gaming operator has secured $90 million to build a 276-room hotel as well as 42,000 square feet of meeting space.

Wind Creek has also revealed plans to convert the No. 2 Machine Shop at the existing complex into a $250 million, 300,000-square-foot adventure and water park and another, 400-room, hotel.

Out of Pennsylvania’s 12 land-based casinos and three racetracks, only two have set reopening dates. Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh and the Meadows Racetrack & Casino will resume operations Tuesday, June 9.

Under Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s three-phase reopening plan, which includes red, yellow, and green phases, the third, green, phase is when non-essential businesses can reopen and all restrictions can be lifted.

This means that the state’s casinos can resume operations only after the counties they are located in move into the green phase.

Of the reopening of Wind Creek Bethlehem, Wind Creek’s CEO said in late April that they would “continue to consult with health, regulatory, Tribal, and commonwealth agencies” and that when the property reopens, their goal is “to have a plan that will provide a smart and measured approach and that they will use their “best judgment on when to reopen in order to protect the well-being of our team members, guests, and surrounding communities.”

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