Darryl McEwen

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, “sneeze shields” at buffets and other self-serve food stations may be going the way of the dinosaur. However, you may start seeing their 21st century counterparts in Atlantic City’s casinos once they reopen.

Two suppliers that originally produced other products have stepped up to service the gaming industry as it looks for ways to make players feel safe.

Philadelphia-based casino supplier KGM Gaming, which also has an office in Pleasantville, has been producing seating, bases, millwork, and interior and exterior signage for slot machines.

Once the casinos closed, Vice President of Operations Jack McNamara said KGM literally switched gears and began producing medical face shields for area hospitals.

Now, KGM is developing a social protection product line for casinos that functions as an extra barrier between players trying to maintain social distancing.

McNamara said KGM has a patent pending on gaming-area social protection panels that are transparent and can be installed onto slot machine banks, other gaming areas and food service outlets. The panels, he said, are easy to mount, easily removable for access to gaming machines and can be used with any gaming device.

The product line also includes cashier protection panels available in a variety of styles and easy installation options. The panels provide an additional barrier between the cashier and the customer.

KGM also provides easy-to-install sanitizing station endcaps for slot machine banks.

The sanitizing station are designed to be mounted to any slot bank and feature compartments for protective gloves, antiseptic wipes, face masks, a designated space for a mounted bulk hand sanitizer dispenser and an optional waste disposal bin.

The endcap also includes a sign at the top that’s customizable to match the surrounding decor.

“It was important for KGM to develop products to meet the needs of our customers in these unprecedented times,” McNamara said. “We all want things to get back to normal, and with this new product line, KGM is able to provide the comfort and safety customers need to feel confident to reenter casinos.”

Meanwhile, Las Vegas-based Screaming Images has developed a safety shield that can be used on table games and slot machines.

The clear acrylic dividers separate players and dealers, and are made to fit various games.

The company’s usual work includes design, large-format printing and installation work.

Principal James Swanson said the clear acrylic the company uses doesn’t fog up, is easy to clean and, depending on where it’s being installed, can be pieced together in about 15 minutes or less. The divider system doesn’t involve screws, so there’s no damage to tables or gaming machine cabinets.

The dividers also can be used in restaurants and at other businesses concerned with safeguarding their operations.

Since the dividers are considered a temporary safety feature, Swanson said, “The biggest thing for us is, it’s recyclable.”

Recreational gambler Darryl D. McEwen, a former professional journalist, is president of his own consulting firm that manages several small national and international trade associations, and provides public relations and fundraising services for a number of charitable organizations. Have a comment on this or a question specifically related to an Atlantic City casino, players club or other promotion? Email Darryl at MrACCasino@gmail.com, and he’ll try to respond to you personally. Your question – without your name — may appear in a future column. Visit his website, MrACCasino.com, and follow him on Twitter @MrACCasino.