Casinos in Louisiana and Mississippi are reopening this week, offering a glimpse of how the mostly closed industry might recover in a socially distanced world.

Shirley Martinez, 45 years old, drove two hours from her home in Houston to Lake Charles, La., with her sister and 85-year-old mother for the casinos’ reopening on Monday. Her mother was ready to play slots after being on lockdown—with hand sanitizer and masks in tow. “She said, ‘It’s open, let’s go,’” Ms. Martinez said.

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