FILE - In this April 19, 2020, file photo, sheets covering electronic slot machines at a casino shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic in Las Vegas. When shuttered casinos reopen in Nevada, patron counts will be cut in half, nightclubs will remain closed, convention groups will be limited and gamblers will have to keep safe distances apart. Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan said Monday, May 4, 2020, the state is going to require a lot before letting casinos and resort operators reopen. Gov. Steve Sisolak has not announced a target date.
LAS VEGAS — Nevada gambling
officials approved rules Thursday to limit customers, keep gamblers spaced
apart from each other and disinfect dice and cards when the state's casinos are
allowed to reopen.
The Nevada Gaming Commission, which is considered the final authority on regulations and licensing, unanimously approved the guidelines that were released last week by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which sets rules and regulations.
The commission did not act on a request from the casino workers' Culinary Union to incorporate the workers' suggested health guidelines, including the testing of workers for COVID-19 and screening workers and guests with temperature checks upon entry.
The union also called for the commission to publicly release all re-opening plans submitted by casinos. The operator of the Wynn and Encore casinos already took that step voluntarily.
"We have to reassure guests that we are ready for them, that they will be safe when they come back. If we don't get it right when we reopen, the long-term consequences for our industry will be devastating," the union's leader, Geoconda Argüello-Kline, said in comments submitted to the commission.
Several other public comments raised concerns that with the stress of the virus, the risk of gambling addiction was high and others suggested using the reopening to limit or ban smoking, noting that protective face masks would have to be lowered if people are allowed to continue smoking in casinos.
Some Las Vegas Strip resorts have said they're aiming to be open by Memorial Day, if allowed by the state.
Under the guidelines approved Thursday, casinos will be limited to 50% of the occupancy allowed in buildings, and conventions will be limited to 250 people. Restaurants will have limited seating, swimming pool cabanas and lounge chairs "must allow for appropriate distancing" and the usually tightly packed nightclubs and dayclubs will stay closed for now.
Seating at table games should be limited to three players for blackjack, six for craps, four for roulette and four for poker.
Chairs should be removed from every second slot machine in order to keep safe distances between gamblers. Casino managers and supervisors must work to keep customers from gathering in groups around tables.
At least seven days before opening, casinos will need to create and enact plans detailing how they will sanitize everything, from chairs and slot machines, and regularly clean and disinfect dice, cards, roulette wheels and other gambling equipment.
For most people, the
coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that
clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people
with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including
pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.