rade union Casinos de France said last week that French casinos will reopen their doors on December 15.
The reopening of casinos in France comes after an extended second national lockdown, which began on October 30. Originally, it was meant to end on December 1, but it was extended, with only essential businesses permitted to remain open.
Casinos de France said in a statement Thursday that it worked to make the reopening process happen while still respecting the new measures the government put in place regarding the pandemic. The union pointed out in its reopening announcement that the casinos must get back to work, as the venues drive local economies.
The casinos are responsible for 15,000 direct jobs and 45,000 indirect employment positions, according to the union. Each year, the industry generates EUR 1.4 billion ($1.6 billion) in taxes, including EUR 400 million for local communities.
French casinos are now prepared to provide further protection for customers and collaborators. The union stated that with the reopening, more stringent capacity limits will be in place. For instance, customers must register upon entry, a requirement that will assist in traceability and is still compliant with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Casinos will use TousAntiCovid, a contract tracing application, and take the temperature of customers as they enter the facility. Operators will disinfect regularly to promote a clean environment.
In France, casinos originally shut down in early 2020 and reopened in June with strict health protocols in place. At that time, measures instituted included disinfection, physical barriers between players and staff members, and face-covering usage. These measures will remain in place this time around as well.
The union reiterated the need for physical casino operations due to the increase in illegal online gaming activity among the country’s citizens. Casinos de France said that such sites have no controls for problem gambling mitigation, protecting minors, or money laundering. By reopening the casinos quickly, the organization claims, it will help ensure the country’s health and public order.
In April, during the first lockdown, France’s gambling regulator, ARJEL, ordered online poker operators to stop offering bonuses amidst the pandemic. The regulator stated at the time that the lockdown had resulted in an increase in online poker traffic. ARJEL asked gambling firms to stay vigilant during the lockdown as more players log in, reminding them to monitor customer behavior.