Don't waste your time expecting to see casinos operating the way you've known them to function, at least not for a while.

When the casinos reopen, be prepared for significant changes. As the Massachusetts Gaming Commission regulators talk about establishing safe reopening measures, get ready to answer questions about your recent travel, health or exposure to someone with the COVID-19 coronavirus before being admitted into the casino. You might be asked to walk through a full-body scanner that will detect elevated temperatures.

Social distancing will become the new normal with the casino floor marked to avoid throngs of people. It will be eerie seeing the gaming area uncrowded, with players and staff wearing casino face masks and medical gloves. The dealers will have to struggle to engage in friendly interaction with the players, also wearing masks, that will increase miscommunication exponentially. The security department will have fun trying to adjust to not seeing the full faces of patrons and employees. Only every third seat at a table game will be occupied, making it necessary to add more tables. Your friendly poker game will probably be scrapped, while electronic games will be more prevalent.

Forget about non-players gathering around the hot craps shooter and two of every three slot machines will be rendered inoperable in order to establish the necessary social distance between players. Every time a player gets up to move or cash out, a disinfecting crew will swoop in to sanitize the seat and machine. Beverage service to players will be very interesting with the face masks and even more so if they're puffing on a cigarette. The buffets will be closed and food service will be limited to menu orders with only half the tables in the dining room.

Doesn't all of this sound thrilling?

Once this pandemic ends, you won't be the same – and neither will casinos.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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