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‘Not a lot of high-end play’ so far at Nevada’s just-reopened casinos

Geoff Dornan

gdornan@nevadaappeal.com

A view from the casino floor at Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel & Casino after reopening its doors to the public on Thursday, June 4.
Photo: Mikayla Whitmore / The Nevada Independent

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Members of the state’s Economic Forum were told Wednesday that customers are returning to newly opened casinos in greater numbers than originally expected.

The resorts were allowed to open at 50 percent capacity effective June 4.

Gaming Control Board Analyst Mike Lawton said the customers are primarily locals, in addition to nearby Californians who can drive to Nevada’s gaming markets.

Considering that, “there is not a lot of high-end play,” he told the five-member panel that projects state General Fund revenues for the governor and Legislature.

“The big piece missing is that convention business, that corporate customer,” Lawton said.

He said some of those markets are down by less than 20 percent — primarily markets like Reno, Carson City and Lake Tahoe.

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Lawton said approximately 90 percent of the more than 450 non-restricted gaming locations are open. The remaining resorts are planning to before the July 4 holiday — several of which are planning to open as early as today.

Gaming Control Board Chairman Sandra Douglas Morgan told the forum that social distancing is required with customer capacity at 50 percent in restaurants, the gaming floor and at games such as blackjack tables.

But she said there is no 50 percent rule for resort hotel rooms.

Lawton said an estimated 58,976 slot machines and 2,020 table and counter games are open across the state, along with 186 card games.

As restrictions are modified in the coming weeks and months, occupancy and capacity for slot, table and card games will change as well. For the time being, however, night and day clubs along with other live entertainment venues remain closed.