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New Video Poker Machines For Sale – This Port Allen casino has no windows and the lights are off. It’s lunchtime on a weekday. Mirrors make the walls look bigger than they are, but this video poker room is smaller than your average McDonald’s. It has a bar (now closed), spacious bathrooms and 50 well-stocked slot machines. Ramona, one of four employees on duty, hands patrons money every few minutes, mostly $5 bills. The machines only take cash, meaning people come to him when they run out. He is also the only server serving mixed drinks and beers to those who order. He agreed to be interviewed but did not want his name used in this story because his employer would not have liked him talking to the media. Ramona wears a black mask covering her mouth and nose, but none of her 18 supporters do. They may pull their masks down to their chins or remove them from their faces entirely. Some people smoke or drink alcohol while in the car, making it impossible to wear a mask. That pattern was with customers at two Port Allen truck stop casinos Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, at video poker sites like this one, business is booming — at least it has been for the past few weeks.

Revenue from video poker machines at truck stops and racetracks rose more than 30 percent in June compared to the same period last year, according to the latest state revenue reports. Truck stop casino business has expanded despite government restrictions over the coronavirus. They are installed at 50% capacity and can only operate 75% of the casino slots at a time. “People can’t do anything anymore,” said state economist Greg Albrecht, who studies the Louisiana economy. “There aren’t many places to spend your money looking now.” Albrecht expects truck stop revenue to decline and suspects June’s increase could be due to gambling demand. Ramona acknowledged that federal stimulus checks in the spring and an increase in unemployment benefits of $600 a week spurred some of her casino’s activity. Those unemployment benefits ran out at the end of July. “It’s fixed,” he said. The nation’s gambling industry shut down in March when the coronavirus first broke out, but Louisiana casinos were among the first to reopen in May. America’s three biggest casino markets — Nevada, New Jersey and Pennsylvania — don’t reopen until June and July.

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Louisiana truck stop casinos performed well in June, but the rest of the state’s gambling industry did not fare well. Total revenue at Louisiana’s brick-and-mortar casinos fell in June from the same period last year, according to state reports. DiamondJacks Casino in Bossier City had little trouble reopening and did not generate any revenue that month. Harrah’s in New Orleans — where the city has instituted stricter coronavirus rules — saw a 75 percent drop in revenue in June from last year. The experience of a truck stop casino is very different from the traditional Louisiana casino, which is often located on a riverboat. Truck Stop only offers video poker machines for gambling. No board games. Businesses are also very small. Truck stops have a maximum of 50 individual slot machines, while traditional casinos can offer more than 2,000 individual slot machines. But truck stop casinos are more likely to be close to a person’s home in Louisiana. There are 16 large, traditional casinos in the state. There are about 200 gambling truck stops here, most of them near major highways. Both types of casinos have public areas where people can smoke inside. Many local governments, including New Orleans and Baton Rouge, have banned it, but smoking is still allowed in bars and casinos in other parts of the country. Bars are currently closed for private business, mainly because casinos are the only way to smoke. During this pandemic, casino smoking has public health experts more concerned than usual. It’s unclear what effect smoking has on the airborne transmission of Covid-19, but it could make it easier for casino patrons to reliably not wear masks. “By definition, if you’re in a place where smoking is allowed, you’re going to be in a place where people are exposed and blowing more germs into the campus,” said Tulane faculty member Susan Hasick. University. .

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There is agreement that the virus spreads between people indoors, at a distance of 6 meters from each other and between people who do not wear masks for long periods of time. Players tend to stay in the casino for hours, especially if they are in front of electronic devices. In fact, a big part of the appeal of video poker or slot machines is that people can “split up” and play more, said Mark van der Maas, a gambling expert at Rutgers University. “Some will definitely do more than 12 hours in front of the car easily,” he said.

The coronavirus pandemic has given birth to gambling in Louisiana. There have been six outbreaks — and 193 cases — attributed to casinos or racetracks in the state. But no explosions occurred when the truck was stopped, the Louisiana Department of Health said.

Currently, some parts of the country have banned smoking in casinos to combat the spread of the Corona virus. New Jersey and Pennsylvania, for example, have temporarily banned gambling establishments. On Thursday, Edwards said he was willing to temporarily ban smoking in casinos and video poker shops, though he would have to talk to state regulators first. “At first glance, that seems to make sense,” he said.

Cash’s Casino is one of several video poker trucks in Port Allen, La. (Photo by Julie O’Donoghue)

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The gambling industry accounts for a significant share of government revenue. Almost six percent of all taxes coming to the government come directly from gambling. That’s more than direct tax revenue in the oil and gas industry, Albrecht said. Even when the governor banned in-person service at bars in July, he allowed video poker machines to continue operating inside bars. Under epidemic laws, bars can have up to two video poker machines on their premises, although they cannot serve alcohol to patrons in person. “Realistically, though, bars — especially if they don’t run an alcohol business — don’t always open up to two video poker machines,” said Alden Ashi, chief lobbyist for the video poker industry. “Truck stops generally do well, but bars and restaurants [workers] suffer,” he said. “Now that the bells are closed, the numbers are down significantly. I don’t know how much anyone can do about it.”

Our stories may be republished online or in print under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license. Please edit or shorten the style, provide proper attribution and a link to our site. See our rules for republishing photos and graphics.

Julie O’Donoghue is a senior reporter for the Louisiana Illuminator and producer of the Louisiana Illuminator Podcast. He has received awards from the Virginia Press Association and the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press. Julie covered state government and politics for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune for six years. He visited Missouri, Virginia and Washington DC. He covered government and politics. Julie is a proud DC native and Washington Capitals hockey fan. She and her partner, Jed, live in Baton Rouge. He has two adopted children, Quinn and Steven.

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