Mohegan Sun Casino Owns Big Fine in Las Vegas for COVID-19 Issues

Over the past year, casinos in Las Vegas have had to adjust to a new environment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. For months, regulations and restrictions continued to change as officials learned the best ways in which to offer casino gaming services and protect employees and guests of each venue. For the new Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels, the venue is now facing a stiff fine after opening back in March without the needed protocols in place. The property held a huge grand opening ceremony and was found to have been in violation of health and safety protocols in place at the time in Las Vegas.

$60,000 Fine Issued

The new casino opened on March 25 and a citation was not issued by the Nevada Occupational Safety & Health Administration until late April. The casino was accused of violating social distancing protocols as well as not enforcing the mask mandate.

Images were published in the media which shows guests were not wearing masks at all. Masks could be removed while eating, drinking, or smoking, but the individuals photographed were not taking part in any such activity.

People were seen walking about the casino without a mask as well as gathering around the bar lounge area. Even the hotel posted images from the night of celebration, and it showed people without face coverings.

CEO Ray Pineault recently attended a licensing suitability hearing for the company and apologized for the violations. The CEO stated that the company agreed to a settlement surrounding the incidents that occurred on the grand opening night. Pineault took full responsibility in the failure to uphold the standards set forth by the Gaming Control Board.

The CEO said that nothing is more important than the safety and security of the team, guests, and the community. Immediate remedial action was taken based on the incidents.

Gaming commissioners in the state must now rule on the settlement agreement by June 24.

COVID-19 Restrictions

At the time of the casino’s opening, the operating capacity restrictions were set at 35%. The Gaming Control Board required social distancing on the casino floor and everyone inside the facility had to wear a face mask.

During the Mohegan Sun grand opening, celebrities, guests, and employees were not following any of the set protocols. This placed everyone inside the facility at risk of contracting COVID-19. If the casino had waited to open this month, the COVID restrictions would have been removed and they could have operated in the same manner with no repercussions.

Pineault claimed that the disregard to the COVID-19 regulations at the time was a lapse in judgment. However, it seems that all of the management employees, especially the higher-ups, would know the protocols in place by the Board and would have enlisted a plan to ensure that they open in the correct way, keeping everyone safe while still having an enjoyable time.

It will be interesting to see if regulators approve the deal or if perhaps more punishment might be required for not following the rules that had been in place for many months leading up to the opening.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.