WinStar World Casino and Resort, Border Casino and all other gaming facilities owned by the Chickasaw Nation will open at 25% of capacity at 8 a.m. Wednesday, May 27, Chickasaw Gov. Bill Anoatubby announced Friday, May 22, in a press release.
“We have a responsibility to ensure our facilities remain safe places for our employees and patrons as we reopen,” Anoatubby said in the release. “Therefore, our leadership team has developed a comprehensive plan with numerous levels of protection in place to protect the health of our employees and patrons.
“We continue closely monitoring the data and consulting health professionals in an effort to maintain the most effective containment measures available and minimize any possibility of resurgence.”
Gov. Anoatubby said preparations for reopening began weeks ago and include employee testing, alterations to facilities and employee training to ensure enhanced disinfecting protocols and safety procedures are implemented effectively.
Table games, off-track betting, poker, bingo, entertainment options, WinStar Convention Center and other amenities will remain closed during phase one of the reopening, according to the release.
The casinos and many of WinStar’s associated businesses closed down at midnight March 16 as a precaution to slow the spread of COVID-19, the pandemic disease caused by the coronavirus. The casinos, retail stores and casino restaurants were closed in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Employees who were not continuing to work were to be paid during the closure, according to previous reports.
The Chickasaw Nation operates both Border Casino and WinStar World Casino and Resort near Thackerville, Oklahoma, just north of Gainesville. With about 600,000 square feet of gaming area, WinStar ranks among the largest casinos in the world, according to several roundups listing large casinos by square footage. It seats 3,500 in its Global Event Center.
More than 3,700 people are employed at the casino and in its hospitality and restaurant arms, according to a 2018 fact sheet posted on the casino’s website. More than 2,300 of those employees hail from Texas.