While stricter and stricter measures enter into effect in Hungary to fight coronavirus and the government closes down gyms, cinemas, zoos, bars and restaurants, somehow, life in casinos never changed.
Already an entire year ago, when the government announced the first restrictions closing all public places offering leisure activities and only letting restaurants be open in a restricted time frame, casinos were given full permission to stay open according to their regular schedule.
How is it possible that life practically stopped everywhere in the country except for this separate little world of the wealthy? The government decree’s answer is clear:
casinos are not considered part of the catering industry.
Some alterations have been made, however; their opening time has gotten reduced, and casinos can only be open if they respect all measures and restrictions related to the pandemic. Telex.hu was curious about how well this was functioning.
A crowd one has not seen in a very long time (apart from the occasional protests against restrictions) where everyone is having their best time.
80-120 people in an about 150m2 area, quite often wearing a mask only under their nose or on their chin. No one says a word, and people are pushing each other around the roulette tables.
Coffee, soft drink and even whiskey is served by waiters entirely for free – as it is not an establishment belonging to the catering sector. This is more or less what you see in a Budapest casino during the beginning of the third wave of the pandemic, when the government is already mentioning the closing down of schools to try to slow down what is ahead of us.
According to telex.hu, the Police do not have actual statistics on how many times they have concluded inspections in casinos since September to see if pandemic restrictions are followed. BRFK stated that they are
“continuously monitoring if safety measures are respected and in case a violation is detected, necessary action is carried out.”
Insiders have previously revealed that casinos are not that dangerous when it comes to the virus, thanks to their own safety measures against cheating. Cards are frequently changed; players can not even touch them. On the other hand, machines and certain surfaces are touched by many people, and at roulette tables, a vast number of chips are used. Moreover, disinfection of casinos and devices does not seem to frequent.
The same chip goes through many people’s hands: the croupier, the player, and the cashier. Even though the area itself is divided into separate parts and ventilation is supervised by a central system, in practice, just by entering the building, we can not say whether purification and changing of the air are actually worked out.