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Gaming Control Board releases updated policy guiding casino reopenings

Jackie Valley

The Nevada Independent

Siri's Casino in downtown Reno, seen here March 21, has been closed since March 18, like all casinos in Nevada, due to mandatory closures ordered by Gov. Sisolak.
Photo: Kevin MacMillan
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was first published May 27 by The Nevada Independent and is republished here with permission. For more Nevada news, including wall-to-wall coronavirus coverage and a constantly updating live blog, visit The Nevada Independent.

Resorts must check guests’ temperature upon arrival or have a medical professional on property at all times and require guests to complete a symptom self-assessment, according to an updated policy released Wednesday by the Nevada Gaming Control Board as casinos gear up for reopening.

The seven-page policy document builds upon the industry notice the regulatory agency issued earlier this month.

The Gaming Control Board held a workshop Tuesday and heard from a variety of health and safety experts, who recommended screening guests as they arrive on property. 

Gov. Steve Sisolak confirmed Tuesday evening that casinos may reopen June 4 following the pandemic-fueled shutdown that lasted more than two months. But, first, casinos must submit reopening plans to the Gaming Control Board seven days before opening their doors.

The regulatory agency’s updated policy document lays out all the requirements facing the gaming industry. For instance, the Gaming Control Board instructs properties to create a designated area within the resort where guests can be tested for COVID-19 and safely await results. 

Here are other health and safety procedures spelled out in the policy document:

  • Properties must make face coverings available for guests upon request and encourage people to wear them in public areas.
  • Casinos must limit the number of players at table games — three per blackjack table; six per craps table; four per roulette and poker tables — or they can submit alternate social distancing plans to the board for approval.
  • Plans must detail how casinos will disinfect chips and cards and ensure cleaning of gaming equipment before a new employee starts a shift.
  • Hotel front desks, business centers, bars, restaurants, retail spaces, pools, convention areas and back-of-house operations must adhere to federal, state and local social-distancing requirements.
  • Gaming areas must be limited to 50 percent of their occupancy capacity.
  • Nightclubs and dayclubs will remain closed until further notice.
  • Signage reminding employees and patrons of proper hygiene should be displayed around the property.
  • Reopening plans must include a casino’s commitment to responsible gaming measures, and the Gaming Control Board encourages enhanced employee training or specialized messaging for patrons.

The Gaming Control Board clarified Tuesday that reopening plans submitted by casinos are deemed confidential by Nevada law, though properties can make them public if they desire.

Following the governor’s reopening announcement Tuesday night, several gaming companies with properties on the Las Vegas Strip have released more details about their plans to welcome back guests. For example, MGM Resorts plans to reopen the Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand Las Vegas and The Signature properties on June 4.

Caesars Entertainment said it will reopen Caesars Palace and the Flamingo Las Vegas properties along with some retail and dining establishments in The LINQ Promenade and the High Roller Observation Wheel. And Wynn Resorts said it will reopen both its Wynn and Encore hotel towers on June 4.

The Nevada Independent has been tracking details of casino reopening plans here.

The Nevada Independent is a 501(c)3 nonprofit news organization. The following people or entities mentioned in this article are financial supporters: Steve Sisolak – $3,200.