When Will Indian Head Casino Reopen?

Posted on August 21, 2020 - Last Updated on August 24, 2020

About a month after closing due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19, Indian Head Casino in Warm Springs remains shut down.

Perhaps even more distressing for Oregon gamblers, there is no timeline or publicly disclosed protocol for the reopening of the casino.

If that time ever does come, the Oregon casino may take more precautions to avoid a third coronavirus-related shutdown. One option is limiting who can enter the facility.

Latest on Indian Head Casino

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the casino’s operator, is tight-lipped about any intent to reopen the casino.

A visit to the website and a phone call to the casino confirms that, right now, there isn’t a plan to reopen.

Additionally, the tribes won’t disclose what circumstances would motivate them to consider reopening. Initially, the casino planned to test its entire workforce for the virus and go from there.

Since then, the casino hasn’t released any updates on employee testing. There is more to consider than just casino workers in this situation, however.

Because an employee tested positive, everyone who visited the casino during the coronavirus’s incubation period could have potentially been exposed. That goes for everyone else that person may have come into contact with during that period as well.

The casino’s closure protects people from the virus and the casino from potential liability. That may make the tribes cautious about reopening.

Tribal casinos in other states may have laid out a plan to reopen that could afford an extra control measure. It would require the tribes in Warm Springs to be even more selective about who they allow to gamble at their facility, however.

Restricted access enhances contact tracing efforts

Some tribal casinos in New York have instituted bans on guests from certain areas.

Some of those bans are exclusive enough that only people who live within 250 miles of the facilities can come inside.

There are advantages to those policies.

First off, they allow the casinos to exclude potential patrons from areas where the “positivity rates” are still high. The policies also make contact tracing¬†much easier if guests only come from a certain area.

There is an obvious and significant downside, however. These policies can severely limit the number of people who can gamble at the casino. As a further consequence, that negatively affects revenue.

Right now, however, any revenue would be an improvement for the Indian Head Casino’s bottom line. It’s difficult to say when the casino might reopen. If that does happen, however, the casino might be even more cautious.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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