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Best of Jerry Stickman

Gaming Guru

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COVID-19 Effects in Tunica

19 June 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the world hard. Virtually no individual or business
has been immune to its impact. Now that the country is starting to open up a bit, I
thought I would take a tour of some casino destinations and report what I
observed.

Since it is the closest to me, I started by visiting Tunica, MS.

In its heyday Tunica boasted 11 operating casinos. To draw customers from the
areas surrounding the newly established gaming destination, comps tended to be
relatively easy, the games were player friendly, and promotions were plentiful.
The area thrived.

Alas, today only six are of those original 11 locations are in operation.

Interestingly, Covid-19 cannot be blamed for any of the other five casino’s
demise as they all ceased business prior to February, 2020.

Buoyed by their initial success, casinos slowly tightened the easy comps. The
games became less player friendly. Promotions became less frequent and less
favorable.

As a result, fewer players came. One by one, casinos began to fold. The casinos
that closed were mostly the smaller operations. But that was not exclusively the
case.

Included in the list of closed casinos was the largest Tunica casino, Harrah’s. This 140,000 square foot casino which sported three hotels with 1,356 hotel rooms closed its doors in June of 2014.

My tour of the remaining six casinos happened late on a Saturday afternoon. Here is what I observed:

All of the casinos required coverings over the nose and mouth to be worn. How well this requirement was enforced varied from casino to casino. At minimum, there was security at each entrance to verify those entering were properly “attired.”

All casinos were sparsely populated with players. I am not sure if this was because of Covid-related concerns or for other reasons.

The vast majority of players were at slot machines. There were a few video poker players at all locations. A few table games were open in each casino.

I found it very interesting that social distancing measures varied widely from casino to casino.

Some casinos shut down every other slot machine to keep players separated. Others did not. Some casinos put plastic dividers between slot or video poker machines if all machines were inactivated. Others did not.

Some casinos put dividers between table game players. Some just put dividers between the players and the dealers (but not between the players). Still others put up no dividers at all on the table games.

One other major change concerned the bars. A couple of the casinos had all previously active bars in operation. Others closed about half of them. One casino closed all bars. I am not sure if there were cocktail waitresses in this casino, but I never saw any – nor did I see anyone with an alcoholic beverage.

Some of the casinos that still had video poker at the bars disabled every other machine. Others put up plastic barriers between each game. Still others had everything operating with no barriers.

One not-so-surprising observation was no buffets were in operation. A couple of locations simply closed the buffet and let other food and snack outlets pick up the slack. The rest transformed the buffets into standard coffee shops with servers who delivered your food. Most changed the name to indicate is was no longer a buffet but at least one casino still used the original name which included the word “buffet.”

It was, indeed, a very mixed bag. The major takeaways for me were the wide range of social distancing measures, the distinct downplaying of alcohol, and the dearth of players.

Time will tell how much things will change for the better.

As always, may all your wins be swift and large, and your losses be slow and
small.

Jerry “Stickman”


Jerry “Stickman” is an expert in craps, blackjack, video poker and advantage slot
machine play. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. He authored the
video poker section of "Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas
Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, and Pai Gow Poker!" You can contact Jerry “Stickman” at
stickmanjerryg@gmail.com
Jerry Stickman

Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com
Jerry Stickman
Jerry "Stickman" is an expert in dice control at craps, blackjack, advantage slots and video poker. He is a regular contributor to top gaming magazines. The "Stickman" is also a certified instructor for Golden Touch Craps dice control classes and Golden Touch Blackjack's advantage classes. He also teaches a course in advantage-play slots and video poker. For more information visit www.goldentouchcraps.com or www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 1-800-944-0406 for a free brochure. You can contact Jerry "Stickman" at stickmanGTC@aol.com.

Jerry Stickman Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com