The Sin City’s Casinos
Las Vegas boasts over 100 gambling venues across Downtown, Las Vegas Strip, North Las Vegas, and Boulder Strip. The Sin City’s casinos raked in revenue of $6 billion in 2019 with the Las Vegas Strip, bringing in $592 million and downtown around $62 million. The Nevada state in total has around 441 casinos.
The novel COVID-19 impact on the gambling industry has been quite devastating. Casino operators from Las Vegas to Macau are feeling the heat, but at the same time, regrouping. Las Vegas, in particular, is reeling as the state’s casinos lose millions of dollars every day as long as its gambling venues are shut.
Green Light For Las Vegas Casinos
On May 8, 2020, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) approved 18 specific protocols for reopening casinos in the state. Gambling properties must address certain issues and devise a plan to submit to the Board in order to be approved for a reopening. The state will have a new outlook as around 400 large and small casinos are planning to reopen their doors in the last week of May.
Besides giving the gaming area, and food and beverages lounge a new personality, casinos are planning to place different types of placards around the venues. These signboards instruct customers on things such as where to go, how to do, how to play, and how to eat to make them feel comfortable in a sanitized and clean environment.
A Part of the Guidelines
Here are some of the regulations the NGCB requires for the casino operators to do:
- Occupancy limit reduced to 50%; this can be enforced either via headcounts by security personnel using their existing surveillance system or using any of the slot accounting systems to ensure the occupancy rate is only half in the buildings
- Should maintain a 6-foot social distancing between gamblers
- Should clean and disinfect all the equipment and items such as chips, dice, rails, card shoes, wheels, chairs, shufflers, cards, token boxes, tiles, discard holders, and pit podiums regularly
- Maintain a cap on the player number at the tables: 3 players per blackjack table, 6 players per craps table, 4 players per rule table, and 4 players per poker table
- No congregation around gaming tables, in keno lounges, inside race and sportsbooks, and bingo halls
- Must have disinfectant wipes/hand sanitizer for guests
- Sick employees must stay home
- All workers and guests must wear masks and gloves
Who Is Opening? When?
For now, there are no firm dates as to when casinos in Las Vegas will open, but some casinos have had soft dates in mind. Wynn has set a tentative date on May 26, 2020, while Las Vegas Sands has planned to open two of its casinos Venetian and Palazzo sometime in June. Treasure Island casino has also pushed to a June reopening. MGM’s Bellagio and New York-New York casinos are expected to reopen in October.
Worker Testing Begins
The Las Vegas Convention Center began its testing of up to 4,000 casino employees per day, from across Caesars, Boyd Gaming, and MGM properties, starting Thursday, May 21, 2020. The employees will be tested from 8 AM to 6 PM. Temperature checks will be done on employees, and their oral swabs were taken. The results will take around 48 hours to come in, and those testing positive will be directed to a 14-day self-quarantine, while those testing negative will be allowed to resume work. Thousands of casino employees are to be tested this way.
Many casinos have formulated a set of safety parameters, for both employees and guests, that aligns with the NGCB’s reopening guidelines.
- Periodic temperature checks
- Employees will be trained on health and safety norms
- Wearing of PPE (personal protective equipment) is a must
- Physical distancing via face shields, clear signage, or plexiglass barriers
- Regular hand washing, and enhanced area sanitation through routine cleaning of high-touch surfaces and common areas using high-quality cleaning products
- Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) controls and air quality check
- Incident response protocols
Las Vegas Gambling Post-Corona
Will the post-lockdown Las Vegas be able to rake in the same profit as before COVID-19? Will the state’s casinos find a way to make their customers feel like they are in a carefree, money-flowing party while being subjected to constant sanitation, temperature screenings, and standing on designated markers? Well, the odds are not that bad, given the demand gambling has not only in Vegas but worldwide.