Sahara Las Vegas and Grand Sierra To Pay $75K in Fines

Sahara Las Vegas Logo
The Sahara on the Las Vegas Strip and the Grand Sierra in Reno will pay $75,000 as a joint settlement for violating the state’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

According to settlement documents, the Los Angeles-based Meruelo Group, which owns both Sahara and Grand Sierra, did not “admit nor deny” the allegations. However, the Nevada casino operator agreed on the joint settlement because they believe that the Nevada Gaming Board “could meet its burden of proof if these matters were to proceed to the evidentiary hearing before the Commission.”

In a statement, the Meruelo Group said:

“Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our guests and team members and we will continue to work cooperatively with government agencies to meet these high standards and ensure compliance across our resorts.”

Various COVID-19 Related Violations

The Board filed a case against the Sahara Las Vegas last August, alleging that the resort hosted a July 23 luncheon event which was attended by an estimated 135 people. The state’s coronavirus guidelines permit Nevada casinos to host gatherings with a maximum of 50 people. Another case filed alleged that the hotel-casino allowed its customers to break social distancing rules at blackjack and craps tables last June 16.

On the other hand, a three-count case was filed against Grand Sierra last August 7th. In the complaint, Nevada regulators claimed that on three different occasions, state gaming agents witnessed guests not wearing masks inside the casino-hotel premises. The agents also said that casino officials and employees didn’t do anything to correct the practice.

Gaming Regulators File Complaints

Since Nevada casinos reopened last June 4th, gaming regulators have filed a total of six disciplinary complaints against Nevada casinos for COVID-19 related violations. Four of the cases have already been settled and were due for consideration on Thursday.

Bowl Incline in Lake Tahoe will pay $5,000 for not closing its bar top games on July 10. Slot operator Century Gaming is set to pay $15,000 for the same infraction involving Cheers Bar. Hotel Ely agreed to pay $15,000 after several employees were seen not wearing face masks. Meanwhile, the owners of the C.O.D. Casino also settled for a $30,000 payment for face mask violations.

Nevada casinos were allowed to open again last June with the state enforcing strict COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. The restrictions include reduced occupancy, more space between gamblers, head count limit for meeting and convention spaces.