Macau’s casino regulator has confirmed to GGRAsia it has been asked by some local gaming operators to permit a trial in the city of protective transparent screens at slot machines and gaming tables.
The regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, also known as DICJ, said in a Wednesday email in response to GGRAsia’s enquiry: “The DICJ did receive request from some gaming operators in regards to the trial of clear screens set up at slot machines and gaming tables.”
“However, such request is still under analysis so there’s no timetable for the trial,” it added.
The proposal is thought to be a safety measure against the spread of Covid-19.
Each Macau casino player and table dealer is already required to wear a face mask; they must stay 1 metre (3.28 feet) apart; and a limit is already in force regarding how many players can sit at a single table – between three and four depending on the size of the table.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper in the United States reported in late April that transparent acrylic shields made to fit various casino game layouts – and designed to separate players and also separate players and table games dealers – were being tested for use in a downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, casino, prior to the market reopening there in early June.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board clarified in a June 25 update to the local casino industry that protective screens were not an alternative to table players and card dealers wearing face masks.
The board said that casino customers would still have to wear “face coverings” even for table games that have “barriers or partitions between the dealer and each player”. In Las Vegas, local authorities still require “keeping 6 feet [1.83 metres] of space in between individuals” to prevent Covid-19 transmission.
GGRAsia had also asked Macau’s gaming bureau whether there was a possibility that the number of players permitted to sit at a single gaming table in Macau might be reduced further – as and when tourists return in numbers – from the notional three or four currently permitted.
Macau’s DICJ told us with regard to local rules on separation: “In fighting against Covid-19, the gaming industry only follows the guideline issued by the Health Bureau of Macau, which suggested casinos adopt a 1-metre social distancing policy.”
The gaming bureau added: “In this respect, if the gaming table is an eight-seat table, the maximum number of seats for the players will be around three. However, the DICJ will also take into consideration the gaming environment and the actual distance between gaming tables, and request the casinos to make proper adjustment to the number of seats whenever necessary.”