COVID-19 Hits Ameristar Casino Just As Fourth Retail Colorado Sportsbook Opens

Written By Ian St. Clair on 07/23/2020 - Last Updated on July 8, 2022

The Ameristar Casino in Black Hawk has had quite the up-and-down week.

Earlier this week, it was announced the Colorado casino opened its retail sportsbook, which is operated by Penn National Gaming and is paired with Barstool.

There are now four physical sportsbooks operating in Colorado.

Well, that’s the good news.

The other news, however, puts a damper on the opening of its new sportsbook.

COVID-19 cases at Ameristar

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released its weekly list of COVID-19 cases across the state.

Included on that list is Ameristar Casino.

The casino had two employees test positive for the coronavirus; however, there’s no word on when they contracted the virus or how the casino has responded.

One would think contact tracing and isolation is in play for the two workers, as well as a deep cleaning for the casino, if necessary. Those who want to check out the new retail sportsbook in Black Hawk should proceed with extra caution.

Casino guidelines

When Colorado casinos were given the green light to reopen, CDPHE put numerous operational guidelines in place:

  • Casino patrons must maintain 6 feet of social distancing.
  • There is a 50% capacity limit.
  • Gatherings can’t exceed 175 people indoors.
  • Gatherings can’t exceed 250 people in any outdoor setting.
  • Casino staff members are to wear face coverings.
  • Casinos must post signage on doors that direct guests who are experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms not to enter.

The variance request for Gilpin County also included:

“If the county identifies that a threshold of two or more unlinked cases occurs in a two week period, notify CDPHE and then implement a mitigation plan for two weeks to try and restore virus transmission levels to the baseline under which the variance was approved. If, after two weeks the levels are not restored, then the capacity limits are automatically adjusted to the maximum of the new level (low goes to medium, medium goes to high).”

The variance request adds that CDPHE reserves the right to modify or rescind this variance approval as circumstances warrant.

How Ameristar reacts to two employees testing positive for COVID-19 will go a long way in how CDPHE responds.

While there is another retail sportsbook option for Colorado sports bettors, it’s best to approach with caution.

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Ian St. Clair

Ian is an award-winning sports journalist and a University of Northern Colorado graduate. He’s a Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. He broke into the gambling industry right as Colorado launched legal sports betting in 2020. Ian now manages the sites for some of the biggest gambling markets in North America and is an analyst for PlayColorado.

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