Gaming properties in Las Vegas are set to reopen on June 4, but the Las Vegas Strip will not look like it did before the coronavirus pandemic began. Casinos will be forced to follow strict health and safety protocols, and there will be severe penalties if they do not.
All of the casinos that are planning to reopen on June 4 must have submitted a reopening plan to the Nevada Gaming Commission at least seven days ahead of reopening. If these plans are approved, the casino property will be forced to strictly adhere to this plan, or face penalties.
Nevada gaming officials will issue citations to casinos that do not abide by the reopening plans, and they could also impose hefty fines. Casinos will be responsible for the actions of both their employees and their guests as a part of this agreement.
Field agents will be employed to check up on all of the casinos that reopen throughout the state, so casino properties must ensure that they are always following protocols. A verbal warning is likely to be issued for the first infraction, but the punishments will get more severe for multiple infractions.
Casinos that continue to violate these health and safety protocols could end up receiving a fine of close to $100,000. Further, there is a chance that casinos can lose their gaming license if they continue to disobey the orders.
The gaming board issued new health and safety guidelines to casinos on Wednesday, but these guidelines did not indicate what sort of punishments would be handed down. The board typically doesn’t set specific rules for the casinos to follow but instead provides suggestions that they should follow. The gaming board has also encouraged casinos to implement additional safeguards in an effort to keep their employees and guests safe.
Even though the gaming board typically just offers suggestions to their casinos, there are certain rules that must be followed when it comes to reopening. Crowds must be capped at 50 percent capacity in relation to the original number set by fire and city officials.
Casinos are expected to encourage all guests to wear face masks when they are inside of the building, and they must provide face masks to guests that request them. Casinos will also be required to set up guidelines to implement social distancing for guests that are waiting to enter the casino.
Some local lawmakers believe that the local health department should be responsible for checking up on the casinos to ensure that all of these safeguards are in place. Representatives from the Southern Nevada Health District have announced that they don’t have jurisdiction over gaming operations.
Fines Set Expectations
Richard McGowan, a finance professor from Boston College, believes that issuing fines to casinos will set an example to other members of the industry across the country. Casino executives in the state of Nevada announced that they have plenty of interest in ensuring that everyone follows the guidelines that have been set.
McGowan has also expressed his support of five major guidelines that have been set for casino properties throughout the country. Separating slot machines or tables games with plexiglass or other plastic is one of the biggest protocols that he supports.
He also suggests that casinos should offer rewards to customers that show up at the casinos during off-peak hours in an effort to ensure that casinos are not overcrowded. McGowan believes that hand sanitizing stations should be installed throughout the casinos.
Nevada has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, with the biggest toll coming economically. The reopening of the casinos will provide some relief and will help the unemployment rate begin to fall.