More than a few of us in South Louisiana enjoy the thrill of a game of chance every now and then. For some, it's bourre' with family and friends on Saturday night, for others it might mean a trip to one of our many area casinos. Granted, Lafayette Parish does not allow gaming, there are many places within driving distance that offer the fun and excitement of a financial windfall.

As you probably are aware, Louisiana's and Acadiana's gaming destinations were closed in March as part of Louisiana's plan to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Many area casino owners and operators are now in the planning stages for when the state will allow them to reopen for business.

Manish Stanki is the proprietor of Lucky Deuces Casino in Duson. Just for transparency's sake, Lucky Deuces is a marketing partner with us here at the radio station. But more importantly, Lucky Deuces is a local business that employs local people, and right now many of those people are wanting to know when they can come back to work.

When I spoke to Manish via telephone earlier this week, here's what he said about that.

We're looking at a Phase 1 opening on Friday, May 15th. (With) 25% of the maximum allowed occupancy by the fire marshal and every other machine being made available for use.

Obviously, that May 15th date is not etched in stone. But, being a businessman Manish and his team are preparing as if it is based on the current guidelines offered by the state.

Manish was quick to point out that employee safety and customer safety would be the two major focuses of his establishments reopening process. Among those precautions could be employees wearing masks, temperature checks at the door for both employees and customers, and the use of gloves by employees and patrons. Some facilities might even ask health screening questions before allowing customers to enter.

Machines will also be sanitized after each player and as mentioned earlier at least every other machine will not be available for play. So, you can see, Lucky Deuces is not going to leave your safety or any employee's safety to chance.

As far as operating hours are concerned, before the pandemic, Lucky Deuces like many truckstop casinos was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Obviously, casino operators would like to get back to those "normal" hours as soon as possible but Manish explained why many of them won't, at least at first.

That's going to be dictated by our labor...based on our ability to get fully staffed we will be open 24/7. If we don't have the staff, then we may have to curtail those hours.

One other thing that Manish also pointed out, the situation on whether or when casinos will be allowed to reopen May 15th is very fluid. He said they get new directives and updates from the state daily.

The bottom line is this. Louisiana's casinos will be opening soon. Will it be May 15th? We'll find out from the Governor, most likely next week. When casinos like Lucky Deuces once again open their doors will they be safe? I believe they will be. Based on the protocols and procedures that have been described to me, they should be if patrons will follow them.