South Point Casino Company Not Happy with Nevada Right to Return Legislation

SB386 is a new bill in Nevada, known as “Right to Return”. The goal of the measure is to help gaming and tourism employees that were laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic to return to their previous positions of employment. Since the introduction of the measure, one company has decided to come out as opposed to the idea. South Point Casino-Hotel is not happy with the legislation and wants to see Governor Steve Sisolak veto the measure.

Opposing the Bill

Earlier this week, an email was sent out to representatives of the casino industry trade groups in Nevada. In the email, Barry Lieberman, an attorney representing South Point, said that the changes in het measure are onerous for the smaller, non-union non-restricted license holders.

Lieberman stated further that there are several concerns regarding the legislation. The bill was passed around during this week’s Senate Commerce and Labor Committee meeting with a split vote taking place. A deal was said to be reached with representatives of the gaming union and negotiators connected to the Culinary Workers Union Local 226.

The attorney wrote in the letter that South Point opposes the measure. The operator wants to see the governor veto the measure if the Senate and House pass it. Lieberman is a close advisor to Michael Gaughan, the owner of South Point and has been an attorney in Nevada for many years assisting those in the gaming industry.

After being approved in the Senate committee, the measure was approved by the Senate yesterday with a vote of 12 to 9. The measure seems to have support, including the backing of major casino companies like Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts.

After sending the email, Lieberman also took part in an interview on the subject, stating that the legislation needs to be changed so that it treats the non-union resorts the same way as properties that have union agreements. According to the attorney, some of the amendments force employers to guess what the bill actually requires them to do.

Negative Effects

Lieberman suggests that the bill will impair the right of the employer to rehire casino workers who have superior skills when compared to others who are laid off. He says the legislation would discourage employers from hiring new employees. The legislation says that properties cannot hire a new individual for a position until the full-time and part-time employees’ provisions have been satisfied.

The attorney says the new language is ambiguous and does not provide a distinction between employees who are full time, part time, or on call. Lieberman even says that legislation is possibly more favorable to part time employees instead of those who were working full time.

Supporters of the measure call the bill a commonsense approach to creating a stable workforce. The bill covers employees who were laid off after March 12, 2020, when the pandemic began. The individuals who qualify must have been employed with the casino for six months in the year before the emergency declaration regarding COVID-19 took place.

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.