Here We Go Again; Nevada Bars Set to Close

The state of Nevada took a long time to reopen non-essential businesses, and it now appears that the process is starting all over again. Governor Steve Sisolak has ordered bars, pubs, and taverns to close in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Sisolak pointed out that this order only affects businesses that don’t serve food, and the order only affects businesses in select counties of the state. States around the country have seen a huge increase in COVID-19 cases from gathering in bars, and Sisolak is hoping to prevent the same thing from happening in Nevada.

The two biggest counties that this new order affects are Clark County and Washoe County. Both Las Vegas and Reno are located in these counties, which means that bars within resorts must close again for the second time since mid-March.

Restricted gaming licensees will also be shut down due to this new order, and that will once again limit the number of gaming locations throughout the state. Restricted gaming licensees are businesses that have less than 15 slot machines, and these are mostly bars that are able to offer some gaming to their customers.

COVID-19 Cases Continue to Climb

Nevada saw a slight decrease in positive COVID-19 cases, but that is no longer the case. As the state has started to reopen non-essential businesses, the number of positive tests has climbed as well.

Governor Sisolak was not excited about announcing these new restrictions, but he was urged to do so by several different organizations. Sisolak has faced some intense pressure for his handling of the pandemic, and this new announcement will bring even more opposition.

Sisolak issued a face mask mandate on June 24 after many businesses were found not to be following the suggestions. Casinos were also forced to mandate this new rule, even though casinos are operating under several new health and safety protocols.

Nevada has more than 24,900 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and there have been more than 570 deaths. A large majority of these cases and deaths have been located in Washoe and Clark County, and these counties will be affected by the new announcement from the governor.

Governor Sisolak did not announce a tentative date to reopen these businesses, but he will continue to work with state and local health officials.

Businesses Not Following Rules and Regulations

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has been concerned with the number of businesses not following their rules and regulations, and they conducted some investigations over the past few weeks. The Nevada Gaming Control Board conducted over 6,000 reviews since June 4, and they were shocked by what they saw.

The NGCB visited all businesses at least three times, and they have opened more than 110 regulatory cases against licensed businesses. All of the cases involve health and safety breaches against the regulations that they sent out.

Non-compliance of local, state, or federal guidelines or a violation of health and safety policies is a violation of Nevada Gaming Commission Regulation 5.011.

The NGCB has not announced all of the companies that have committed a violation, but the group has announced that they have been issuing fines. A first violation of these regulations produces a written warning, and the NGCB then follows up with the business to ensure that they are meeting regulations.

If companies continue to violate these regulations, the NGCB could ultimately fine these businesses more than $134,000. As the organization continues to see a rise in violations, it was necessary to urge the governor to shut down these businesses in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.


Logan is based in Los Angeles and is an avid poker player having played in tournaments across the globe. He covers both poker & regulatory affairs.