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Arizona casinos to open soon
From casino pioneer, a pioneering idea for player protection
How the Shutdown Affected U.S. Sports Betting—And How ‘Real’ Sports Will Return
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge offered bingo-calling lessons
For just $5 Vets can get acknowledgement on drivers license

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Arizona casinos to open soon

PHOENIX—According to FOX 10 in Phoenix, Arizona casinos have announced plans to reopen as early as the week of May 11th after about two months of silent slot machines, empty card tables and closed doors during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many of the casinos expect to implement new sanitation measures to curtail the spread the of COVID-19. Fort McDowell Casino near Fountain Hills, Harrah's Ak-Chin Hotel and Casino in Maricopa, Gila River Hotel and Casinos at Lone Butte in Chandler, Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, and Vee Quiva in Laveen are all scheduled to reopen May 15, the same day the statewide stay-at-home order is set to expire.

At Gila River Casinos, customers will be asked—but not required—to wear masks, and plastic glass-like material is being installed on slot machines to help reduce the spread of the virus.

Health officials on Tuesday reported 20 additional COVID-19 deaths, raising the state’s reported total to at least 562.

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For just $5 Vets can get acknowledgement on drivers license

            Solano County’s 33,500 veterans and the 11,000 veterans in Napa County are now eligible to receive a driver’s license acknowledging their service in the United States Armed Forces, through a new statewide program.

Beginning Nov. 12, the Department of Motor Vehicles will be issuing driver’s licenses with the word “veteran” on them to those who qualify, Napa and Solano County officials said.

Napa veterans can visit the Napa County Veterans Service Office (CVSO), at 650 Imperial Way in downtown Napa, and complete the DMV application.

Veterans will need a certified copy of their discharge papers (DD-214) showing they received anything other than a dishonorable discharge or that they served in a Guard or Reserve component and were mobilized for federal active duty.

            Solano County vets can stop by the Solano County Veterans Service Office for an official application form, which they can take to the DMV starting Nov. 12 to get the new veteran driver’s license. Solano County Director of Veterans Services Ted Puntillo asks that vets bring a copy of their DD-214 paperwork to get the form.

            The new driver’s license means veterans will no longer need to carry their discharge papers to show proof of military service, officials said.

            The CVSO will verify the documents and approve the application, which can then be submitted to the DMV. There is a $5 fee to have the veteran designation placed on a driver’s license, on top of the normal renewal fees, officials said. Veterans who are not due for renewal can obtain a new license for a $35 replacement fee.

The CVSO can order copies of discharge papers. Veterans who visit the office can also discuss their eligibility for federal, state and local benefits. To date, Solano County Vet Services has already helped more than 100 vets obtain the application form, officials said.

            For more Napa information, call 707-253-4558. In Solano, call, (707) 784-6590. Contact Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824.

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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge offered bingo-calling lessons

      Windsor, EnglandThe Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been offered bingo-calling lessons.

      Prince William and Duchess Catherine took on the roles of bingo callers during a virtual game with care home residents in Wales earlier this week, and Buzz Bingo has now offered to help the royal couple following a tongue-in-cheek complaint from one resident.

      Buzz Bingo—which operates a chain of bingo clubs in the UK - said: ''We're delighted to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge engaging in a spot of Zoom bingo with residents of the Shire Hall Care Home, in Cardiff. The game is great for keeping the mind nimble and virtually socializing during these times.

      “As Ms Joan Drew Smith did comment, the bingo calling ’wasn’t as good as it should have been!” so we’d love to offer training and guidance for future bingo calls from our fantastic team at Buzz, we’re more than happy to lend a hand.'”

      Duchess Catherine began the game by calling, “Six and two, tickety-boo.”

But Prince William knew they could do better and promised to work on their bingo calls for their next game.

      He told the residents: “We’ll say a big thank you and goodbye to everybody, and we'll try and do a bit better at bingo next time!”

      Buzz Bingo have marked the occasion by dedicating the bingo call for number 58 to the royals.

      The firm will also donate 10p from every £1 ticket that’s sold over the May Bank Holiday Millions Mega Draw to the NHS.

      Buzz Bingo said: “As a mark of honor, we are going to propose a new bingo call—58 will be dedicated to—William and Kate.

      “Additionally this weekend on bank holiday Monday, we’re going to donate 10p from every £1 ticket sold in the Bank Holiday Bingo Millions Mega Draw to the NHS. We’re committed to recognizing and rewarding the nation.”

      You can also get detailed information on the Internet at: http://www.BingoGamingNews.com.

From casino pioneer, a pioneering idea for player protection

      LAS VEGAS, GGB News—It’s a sight that may soon be commonplace at blackjack tables and slot machines: protective plastic barriers, easy to install, completely transparent, designed to provide a protective screen for customers and casino staff in the Covid-19 era. The concept got its start in a casino that’s been a landmark for 80 years, in the town where legal gambling in America was born.

      “These are crazy times,” said Adam Wiesberg, general manager of the El Cortez Hotel & Casino in Downtown Las Vegas, in an interview with GGB News. “So when the shutdown came, what all of us here were thinking about is when and how to get back in business.”

      When Nevada gaming regulators issued their guidelines for social distancing once the industry reopens, Wiesberg had a brainstorm. He phoned a longtime vendor, James Swanson of Las Vegas-based Screaming Images. The graphic design firm has a client base that includes the leading names in Vegas gaming, along with a slew of NFL and NBA franchises and entertainment giants like Live Nation and AEG.

      Like Wiesberg, Swanson was feeling his own pandemic pain. He’d had to furlough 24 workers. “Since all this stuff started,” he said, “our business just died. I was trying to come up with any idea I could to find some new revenue stream.”

      Wiesberg approached him with the idea for a kind of shield, something visible but unobtrusive, with a measure of protection in accordance with the limited seating the Gaming Control Board was going to allow. It would offer some psychological value in the bargain, making folks feel comfortable with splitting their aces and eights again.

      Swanson went out to the El Cortez on East Fremont Street, a popular rendezvous for locals and tourists alike whose core of loyal customers goes back decades.

      Wiesberg presented Swanson with some rough drawings of what he had in mind. They walked the empty gaming floor, kicking around ideas.

“I wanted something very simple and intuitive,” said Wiesberg. “Maybe it’s not the most original idea, but I thought that if you have a kind of shield between you and the dealer and you and the other players, everybody feels a little more safe.”

      Swanson brought a design team over. Within a day, he was back with a prototype. “Two or three prototypes later,” he said, “here we are.”

      The barriers will be installed on five or six of the dozen or so tables Wiesberg expects to reopen with. They’re made from a standard see-through acrylic, the kind Screaming Images uses for any number of sign jobs. They feature curved shields between dealers and players with openings where bets and payouts can be passed, so there’s no customer contact with the cards. The individual shields between players extend from the front edge of the stool, past the rail to the betting circles. They provide plenty of room for each player to move freely.

      “You don’t really feel like you’re in a bubble or something,” Swanson explained. “You can see clearly, can clearly hear everyone at the table.”

The partitions lock in place without bolts or screws, so there is no damage to the tables, and can be easily removed or refitted to accommodate either three or four seats.

      And by virtue of the visibility they provide, they’ve already passed muster with El Cortez’s surveillance team. Moreover, since they were conceived from the start as a temporary measure, they won’t cost hard-pressed casino operators an arm and a leg.

A similar model has been designed for slot machines.

      “We’re learning something every day,” Swanson said. “This is brand-new stuff. There’s been nothing like this before. So we’re making adjustments and changes as we go.”

      Once the word got out to local media, it spread like brushfire. The New York Times, Washington Post and Forbes have come calling. Screaming Images is filling orders for casinos around the country, and fielding inquiries from as far as away as South Africa and the Philippines. The company’s plant near McCarran International Airport has set aside showroom space to exhibit the barriers. Business is booming again.

      “It’s allowed me to bring 11 of my people back,” said Swanson. “That’s the best possible thing for me.”

For Wiesberg, the satisfaction is similar, and harkens back to the best traditions of old-time Las Vegas.

      “The El Cortez was built by the local community for the local community,” he told GGB. “We’ll always do what’s best for our base, which is that community. “The No. 1 priority is safety—the safety of my customers, my safety, my employees’ safety. I’ve got employees who have been with us for 40 years. Our owners are here six days a week.

      “As much as we want to open up, we want to be sure we do it safely. We’ve been here 80 years and hope to be here another 80.”


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