Cashless Gaming Systems Coming to Las Vegas Casinos

Cashless Gaming System on Table GameOn Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Commission made the first steps toward elevating financial transactions to the digital realm in casinos. The commission approved of eight amendments to current standing regulations on cashless gaming systems.

Industry leaders think that the new gaming system rules could change casino procedures in the same way that “ticket in-ticket out” technology did when it was first introduced in the 1990s.

The amendments made Thursday are effective immediately. The move might see a variety of new systems produced for casinos that would enable casino guests to easily move their money from their bank accounts through the use of debit cards or prepaid debit cards, and over to slot machines and table games.

Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan has been a long advocate for more cashless solutions in casinos, and believes that the new technology would do wonders at attracting new customers, but also be beneficial to the industry by creating a space for more responsible gaming measures.

Morgan earlier this year said that requests to introduce cashless technology have slowed over the past nine months, but it seems that the current coronavirus pandemic we’ve been living through in the US over the past few months has pushed cashless gaming systems back into the limelight.

In fact, Brendan Bussmann, a gaming industry consultant and partner with Global Market Advisors, said that the nationwide shutdown of casinos back in mid-March

Sights on Clean Technology Spurred by COVID-19 Outbreak

Spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak gaining much more traction now. With high-touch surfaces being something that the virus can live on several days, it’s caused a lot of people to be more cautious with handling cash in the meantime.

Companies are now looking to clean technology to replace germy cash, with this being the driving force behind the commission’s speedier amendment approval.

According to medical experts, consumers should be cautious with what they do with their hands when handling a wad of cash or making a withdrawal from the ATM.

Dr. Ellen Foxman, an assistant professor in Yale’s Department of Laboratory Medicine, advised that the virus can stay on surfaces for several days on things you touch, including cash.

Now, several different casino companies are beginning to join forces with the cashless gaming systems that were approved for licensing by commissioners, including Everi Holdings, IGT, Scientific Games, and NRT Technology Corp.

While many consumers are concerned with how contaminated dollar bills might actually be right now, expects still advise that chances of being infected after handling cash is still low compared to other methods of potentially contracting the virus, such as person-to-person contact.

Mainly, COVID-19 spreads through droplets released into the air whenever a COVID-19 carrier coughs or sneezes, but also through the surfaces we come into contact with. Still, it makes the cash for utilizing digital financial transactions and wearing face masks and gloves while out in public stronger.

Cash in No Longer the #1 Payment Choice for Americans

In today’s digital age, it’s not a surprise that cash is no longer the preferred payment choice for American consumers. In fact, it’s only used in just one in four transactions. Debit card payment is now the preferred payment choice, even over credit cards for department store buys.

A study from the 2019 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice found that cash was the third most preferred payment method, and that the preference for cash has decreased over the last three years.

The share of cash use tends to be the highest among two specific groups: Younger age groups, among individuals 18 to 25-years-old, and individuals over the age of 45.

The coronavirus has turned, or urged rather, Americans to turn their attention to digital tools. This is evident in casinos utilizing mobile check-ins for their hotel stays, rather that face-to-face interaction with a front desk agent.

According to Christopher Justice, president of the gaming solutions division for Global Payments, a number of studies has found that a third of the population today is afraid to use cash because of the coronavirus.

With coronavirus taking out the industry in two weeks, Justice says we have to think differently about deploying different solutions. And it looks like different industries are doing that, from the gaming industry to the food industry.

Many restaurants are now using QR codes, typically set up near the host stand, that patrons who own a smartphone can use to scan and have the menu pop up onto their phone rather than providing them with a physical copy.

All of these things are being done in an effort to reduce physical contact in the age of COVID-19.

However, for some groups, such as low-income households, it may not be possible to avoid using cash, in the same way that it’s not possible to avoid touching a door handle. For those who typically use cash, the best prevention method for catching COVID-19 is thoroughly washing hands before eating or touching your face, according to Foxman.

Typical Cash-Use in Casinos

If you’ve ever stopped to really think about it, you’ll realize that most, if not all, gambling transactions are initiated through the use of cash.

Visitors coming to Las Vegas hoping to win big will either have a designated stockpile of cash to be used on table games or slot machines, or they will pull the money out of the casino ATM’s or head to the bank to pull out the funds necessary for their desired play.

In fact, only a small number of casinos throughout the country allow other methods of payment, including credit and debit cards, with some allowing PayPal, Apple, and Google pay.

AGEM Supports the Amendment Changes

Years ago, actually, Nevada outlawed direct credit card-use on a slot machine.

The reasoning? Mike Rumbolz, a former Control Board chairman and a CEO for both casino operators and manufacturers, said credit cards is one instrument that causes the most concern for people. Rumbolz explains that it’s gambling with money you don’t actually have, whereas a debit card is directly tied to a checking account.

In a letter to the commission board, Dan Reaser, an attorney for the Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM), says that driving the gaming industry toward a cashless environment is bound to have profoundly positive impacts.

The letter was prefaced with the impact that ticket-in/ticket-out technologies made over a decade ago in the industry.

Reaser explains that the positive impacts will include enhanced legal compliance, improved public health, and safety, especially now with casinos reopened amid a global pandemic, more gaming operating efficiency, and more responsible gaming alternatives.

AGEM Executive Director Marcus Prater says these regulatory changes have to start somewhere, and that Nevada should be the one to take the lead on it to inspire the rest of the industry to follow suit.

A Closer Look into the Amendment Changes

The amendment approval covers two regulations directly concerning the electronic transfers of money to games or other gaming devices.

While the current regulations allow for customers to transfer money from a debit card to a gaming device, very few properties have licensed systems in place to do that legally or efficiently.

Other amendment changes include a daily monetary transfer limit, and displaying digital messages on messages that encourage responsible gaming, which will include the Nevada Council on Problem Gambling.

Gaming Commission Member Deborah Fuetsch says that by removing the prohibition of a cashless wagering system in approving these specific systems, is opening the door for new, more efficient, and responsible gaming technology.

Timeframe for Allowing Digital Payments on Casino Floors

Everything has a time and place for action, and for digital payments on the casino floor, it’s clear that COVID-19 has sped up that time and place to happen much sooner.

The American Gaming Association (AGA), the Washington, D.C.-based trade organization, announced a framework last week for when digital payments could be allowed on casino floors. They stated that the public demand for this type of cashless gaming system has increased most recently.

While the coronavirus pandemic has increased the public’s demand and interest for cashless gaming, the AGA was already leading an 18-month collaborative industry-wide effort to create a structure that would cover eight necessary principles for modernizing casino payments across the country.

Cashless Systems Would Include Cashless Sports Betting

Cashless systems will revolutionize casino payments entirely, which includes how wagers would be handled in sportsbooks as well.

The new system could potentially allow race and sports bettors to fund their mobile betting accounts through some sort of digital transfer, which would likely save them a trip to the casino.

Bussmann, a partner with Global Marketing Partners, said that for the most part, Nevada casinos have been reluctant to back mobile funding that could be done from home, in an effort to get customers onto gaming properties instead.

But, Bussman said that the pandemic allowed insight into how successful funding from home could be. He pointed that it’s been done successfully in New Jersey, and how the South Point casinos in Las Vegas and William Hill had to get creative during the shutdown in how bettors could fund their accounts.

Bussman believes there shouldn’t have to be a drive-thru system in place to fund customer accounts.

Stay Tuned

The commission approving these amendments seems promising for cashless gaming systems to arrive in Las Vegas casinos, and casinos nationwide, possibly by year-end.

It will still be a process to get the right digital systems in place, but with COVID-19 still around, momentum is moving quickly.

What do you think about Las Vegas casinos, or casinos anywhere for that matter, using cashless gaming systems?

Do you think it will be a more effective and responsible gaming solution? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the new technology below.

Be sure to check back for more updates regarding cashless gaming systems and Las Vegas coronavirus coverage.

3 Casinos in Arizona Close Temporarily Amid Rise of COVID-19 Cases

Gila Rivers Casino in ArizonaAs the coronavirus cases in Arizona, and other states, are on the rise, it has forced Gila River Hotels & Casinos to close three of their casinos for at least two weeks as they reevaluate their safety protocols and procedures.

Those three casinos are Wild Horse Pass, Vee Quiva, and Lone Butte.

This marks the second closure for casinos in Arizona, after casino doors were shuttered in mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak, joined the rest of the country in close down casinos to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The three Gila River casinos reopened on May 15, as Arizona Governor Doug Ducey lifted the state’s stay-at-home order. Some AZ residents believed it was too soon for casinos to reopen, as others were glad to return ahead of the rest of the country.

When casinos reopened, casino operators and tribal companies set force specific coronavirus safety protocols, such as having staff wear facial masks and encouraging patrons to wear them as well.

Effective June 18 at 2 a.m., the three properties effectively shut down as questions about the casino company’s efforts to prevent the spread of the virus have been posed. It also comes after a security guard at Gila’s Lone Butte Casino died from COVID-19.

The security guard, 68-year-old Robert Washington of Chandler, AZ, returned to his job as a security guard once casinos reopened. According to his daughter, he died of complications related to COVID-19. Washington was in the susceptible age bracket, a diabetic and had recently beaten prostate cancer.

According to Gila officials, the company strengthened its policies last week mandating all patrons to wear masks when on the casino properties. Now that the properties will be closed for at least the next two weeks, the company advises it will be strengthening and reevaluating its current safety standards.

Family of Affected Casino Worker Mourns and Implores State to Take Virus Seriously

The family of Robert Washington, who unfortunately passed away after contracting the virus upon returning to his job at the casino, is in mourning and requesting that the state of Arizona take coronavirus seriously.

Washington’s daughter, Lina Washington of Sacramento, has spoken out publically, demanding that customers, employees, and elected officials alike take the threat of COVID-19 as seriously as possible, to avoid another coronavirus-related death from happening.

In Lina’s eyes, she feels the state could have done more when it came to providing guidance to businesses upon reopening. She believes proper guidance could have kept employees, like her father, safe against the threat of the virus.

Lina says it’s not just her dad, but others who will be affected as the number of cases in Arizona continues to increase, and that someone needs to be held accountable for those who are being directly impacted by COVID-19.

While Lina believes her father wouldn’t want her disclosing personal information about him in the news, she’s doing so because she believes his death was “100 percent preventable,” and that if she can help prevent this happening to another daughter or family, she will continue to go on the record with it.

She says as long as people continue to be negligent to the fact that this pandemic is “very real,” that this will not be a unique case and unfortunately will continue to happen until everyone takes it as seriously as it is.

On the day that casinos reopened in the state, Lina’s father told her it was a frightening scene in that around eighty percent of people weren’t wearing masks.

Her father was originally told that upon returning to work, he would be able to work outside on the golf cart to patrol casino grounds. Instead, he had to staff the security desk on the casino floor, interacting with every patron that entered and exited the casino.

Lina believes that mandating all visiting patrons to wear masks could have helped prevent her father from catching the virus. She’s hoping that her story will spur change within the state and her community.

Current COVID-19 Cases in AZ

Today, the Arizona Department of Health Services has confirmed 3,591 new cases of COVID-19 and 42 related deaths. Previously, the state saw its record number of cases last Thursday, and 1,000 new cases were added in the last five days, showing a near-double case count from last week.

For the first time since the virus outbreak, hospitalizations in the state have exceeded 2,000, with 2,136 beds occupied by possible and confirmed COVID-19 patients on Monday, compared with 1,992 hospitalizations from the day before.

Arizona has been one of the states with the most relaxed coronavirus restrictions throughout the country, but it looks like the rapid and significant rise of COVID-19 cases will cause the state to enforce stricter rules on mask usage.

Arizona Modeled Sin City’s Reopening Protocols

Arizona’s safety protocols mirrored that of Nevada casinos, which required casino staff to wear masks, but not enforcing mask usage for casino guests.

However, the Nevada Gaming Control Board recently updated its safety guidelines last week, to include more stringent practices when it comes to facial coverings.

Now, any individual wishing to play table games must wear a face mask if plastic barriers aren’t installed to safely separate gamblers when playing. Cashless gaming could also be a reality soon for Nevada casinos.

According to Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business, he believes Nevada is doing a “pretty good job” at observing the CDC guidelines that have been put into place to help stop the spread of the virus.

Gros noted that casinos are doing a better job at following the rules than their patrons. Gros has noticed that around only 25 percent of guests are wearing masks in Strip casinos, and around 40 percent of guests are wearing masks in the local casinos.

Beyond the rules that were recently updated this week, Gros doesn’t believe that the state’s Control Board will mandate guests to wear masks. He believes that Las Vegas and Nevada wants to remain more “player-friendly” and will likely resist making any enforcements unless absolutely necessary.

But according to Gros, he would rather see everyone wearing a mask in Las Vegas than to have to see it get shut down again because of cases of COVID-19 increase.

Today, not surprisingly, there have already been a handful of confirmed cases of COVID-19 coming out of the Las Vegas Strip. A kitchen worker at Bellagio’s Mayfair Supper Club tested positive last week, forcing the live entertainment and dining venue to temporarily close. A worker at the Flamingo testing positive on the same day and two concierge workers at the Cosmopolitan have also recently tested positive.

There have also been confirmed cases of workers in restaurants on and off the Las Vegas Strip. A worker at Guy Fieri’s restaurant who tested positive for COVID-19 caused the establishment to close back down this week.

Updated Procedures

On June 16, Gila River’s Chief Security and Surveillance Officer Doug Simpson explained that the health and safety of the casino’s employees and guests were paramount and that the main priority for the company right now is implementing an extensive new set of safety measures across its three properties upon reopening.

Those updated safety measures include:

  • A new casino floor layout to comply with social distancing
  • Allowing casinos to operate at capped capacity; 50 percent at most
  • Increased cleaning and sanitation performed on high-touch areas
  • Providing all employees with protective personal equipment
  • Testing all casino staff every two weeks until further notice

Throughout the two-week closure, all Gila River employees will continue to be paid in full and receive full medical benefits.

Arizona Shuts Down Casinos as NJ Prepares to Finally Reopen

Throughout the country, Arizona casinos are currently the only ones to shut back down after reopening to the public.

But while Arizona casinos have shut down to reassess its safety standards, it looks like New Jersey casinos are finally preparing to reopen in time for the 4th of July weekend, after a three-month coronavirus shutdown.

On July 2, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that New Jersey will reopen its Atlantic City casinos at 25 percent capacity to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. In a tweet, Murphy also shared that additional health and safety guidelines will be released within the next several days.

Alongside the state’s casinos reopening, indoor dining will also be allowed to resume across the state at the same 25 percent capped capacity.

What we know now is that face covering and health screenings will be required for both casino patrons and staff members. Anyone who is not in compliance will be asked to leave the premises or escorted out if need be.

Gov. Murphy is adamant about not allowing those who don’t wish to comply with the important reopening requirements to ruin it for those who wish to return to casinos and dining establishments responsibly, calling anyone who wishes not to comply “knuckleheads” who the state will not tolerate in its reopening.

Murphy explained that the reopening of gambling halls will allow thousands of New Jerseyans to get back to work, and that reopening has been a long-time coming, but it’s been delayed to make sure it can be done safely with minimal risk and health damage done to casino staff and patrons.

Stay Tuned

It’s unfortunate to see the rise of  COVID-19 cases across Arizona and various states throughout the country.

Hopefully, casino operators will find a way to keep their doors open while ensuring that casino staff and patrons remain healthy. We also hope that casino guests will continue to conduct themselves responsibly while out in casinos and other public establishments.

What do you think? Do you think casino operators in Arizona need to do more to ensure staff and guest safety, or do you think patrons need to practice more coronavirus safety measures?

We hope that casinos in other states won’t have to shut back down and that patrons will be able to enjoy themselves responsibly.

Please remain safe out there, and continue to wear your masks and wash your hands! Be sure to check back for more updates regarding casinos reopening amid the pandemic.

Caesars Entertainment Report 2 COVID-19 Cases at Flamingo Casino in LV

Flamingo Hotel in Las VegasLas Vegas finally reopened some of its popular casinos on June 4, after Gov. Sisolak declared the Phase 2 reopening for the state after COVID-19 trends stabilized into a downward trajectory.

Now, two weeks later, reports of additional COVID-19 cases are emerging from the Las Vegas Strip.

On Thursday, two positive COVID-19 cases at the Flamingo hotel-casino were confirmed by a Caesars Entertainment spokesperson. The spokesperson also confirmed that contact tracing protocols were being implemented as a precautionary safety measure.

The company’s representatives did not confirm whether the positive cases were staff members or guests. According to health officials, it can take an average of five to six days before coronavirus symptoms show up after first being exposed to the virus. However, symptoms can also remain dormant for us to 14 days following initial exposure.

On Wednesday, another case coming from the Strip was confirmed when a kitchen worker out of Bellagio’s Mayfair Supper Club testing positively for COVID-19. The Supper Club, which is a part-dining, part-entertainment venue, was one of the few live entertainment options currently available on the Las Vegas Strip.

It was temporarily forced to shut down on Wednesday after the worker tested positive.

Flamingo Hotel Hosted First Pool Party Amid Reopening

After 78 days of lockdown, the Flamingo hosted Las Vegas’ first pool party to welcome back guests in true Flamingo fashion.

Casino executives, like Regional President Eileen Moore Johnson and Ken Janssen were on deck to greet guests looking to escape the Vegas heat and have a good time again, as well as showgirls dressed in Flamingo-colored two-pieces with feathers and masks.

Many pools on reopened Strip properties have opened its door alongside their respective casinos, and they’ve been packed with people the past two weekends.

It’s good to see the pent-up demand that Vegas has been met with since reopening. There has, however, been an unfortunate trend of people not wearing masks while out and about on Las Vegas Boulevard.

So much so, that the Nevada Gaming Control Board made updated to its health and safety protocols in an effort to get people to treat mask usage more seriously.

In fact, Nevada Governor, Steve Sisolak, will be keeping the state in Phase 2 longer as he’s disappointed in the number of people out and about who aren’t wearing masks and taking the threat of the virus more seriously.

Coronavirus Numbers in Nevada

On Friday, Nevada saw its largest single-day increase of cases since the pandemic started, with 410 cases. It surpasses Monday’s total of 379 positive cases.

Nevada now has 12,486 confirmed cases, with 9,852 of those cases coming out of Clark County. There have been no new reported COVID-19-related deaths, with the state’s total death count at 478.

It seems the positive number of cases has been on the rise due to a number of factors. For one, the testing capacity in the state has increased, and public gatherings for up to 50 people have been approved. Of course, the reopening of major casinos and hotel properties is likely a contributing factor as well.

$10 Million Steakhouse to Open on July 2 at Flamingo

It’s unsure whether the rise of confirmed cases will delay the plans that Flamingo has to debut their new $10 million steakhouse on July 2, but we’ll see.

The steakhouse, which will be called the Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse, will pay homage to Vegas’ historic roots. It’s named after for Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky, two men tied closely to Las Vegas history and the city’s birth.

The restaurant will feature a hidden speakeasy called The Count Room. Other special features include a dry meat cooler, bakery façade, centerpiece bar and lounge, a raw bar, a decorative dining room and three private dining rooms.

Bugsy & Meyer’s Steakhouse will begin accepting reservations for July 2, while following Caesar’s Entertainment enhanced health and safety protocols. Those protocols include spacing tables six feet apart and allowing 50 percent capacity to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Hand sanitizing stations will also be placed around the restaurant and restaurant employees will be required to wear masks.

Caesars Entertainment Reopens Paris Las Vegas

On Thursday, June 18, Caesars Entertainment opened up its fourth property to the public. After the successful reopenings of Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Flamingo Las Vegas, Harrah’s Las Vegas, The LINQ Promenade and High Roller Observation Wheel, Paris Las Vegas was the next property to resume its gaming and hospitality operations.

To commemorate the momentous occasion, Paris Las Vegas had a big French-inspired reopening featuring can-can dancers, a Monsieur Loyal ringmaster, and Caesars Entertainment executive members on hand to greet visitors.

Guests to the newly reopened property can expect to see renovated rooms and suites, a variety of food and beverage amenities, and have access to the fitness center and outdoor pool.

To honor the reopening, the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas will also showcase a free light show happening every half hour from dusk to midnight through June 30.

The property intends to comply with reopening directives and guidelines provided by Governor Sisolak, the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and public health authorities.

Paris Las Vegas Open Dining Options

Arc Bar – daily, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

BEER PARK – daily, 2 p.m. to close

Café Americano – daily, 6 a.m. to noon

Café Belle Madeleine – breakfast daily, 5 a.m. to noon

Eiffel Tower Restaurant – daily, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Gordon Ramsay Steak – Thursday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Gustav’s Bar – daily, 24 hours

HEXX Kitchen + Bar – daily, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

JJ’s Boulangerie (dining room) – daily, 24 hours

La Creperie – breakfast daily, 6 a.m. to noon

La Pizza (express window) – daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Le Cabaret Bar – daily, 2 p.m. to close

Le Central Bar – daily, 24 hours

Mon Ami Gabi – daily, 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Pool and Fitness Center Hours

Soleil Pool – daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (hours subject to change dependent on weather)

Voie Fitness Center – daily, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Detroit’s Casino Reopening Plans Include Smoking, Poker, and Buffet Bans

MGM Grand DetroitWhen Detroit’s three casinos finally reopen, it’s going to come alongside some big changes.

On Monday, the Michigan Gaming Control Board approved reopening guidelines that will require visitors to wear face masks, undergo a temperature check upon entering, and not smoke, play poker, or eat at the buffet.

Detroit casinos, per the guidelines, will also be limited to 15 percent maximum capacity initially.

Currently, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has yet to lift the coronavirus shutdown order that was put into place nearly three months ago, on March 16.

While casinos don’t have a definitive start date just yet, tribal casinos in the state have already reopened to the public.

Casinos in Las Vegas finally reopened last Thursday, but with Michigan’s heightened number of coronavirus cases and deaths as compared to Nevada and other states that have reopened, they’re taking the right precautions to make sure the state is in good condition to reopen casinos safely.

According to gaming board Executive Director Richard Kalm, CDC recommendations, Nevada Gaming Board guidelines, and data from the National Indian Gaming Commission was carefully considered in crafting the reopening guidelines.

Reopening Guidelines for MGM Grand, MotorCity and Greektown Casinos

The COVID-19 safety guidelines for commercial casinos in Detroit’s three casinos, MGM Grand, MotorCity, and Greektown, were developed in considering the initial reopening. It’s unsure yet how long these particular measures will be in effect, but let’s take a look into the specific protocols below.

Guest and Employee Casino Entry

Entry points into all three casinos will be reduced, with signage visibly seen upon entering reminding guests of the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing, proper handwashing, how to wear facial masks and to stay home if feeling sick.

A non-contact thermometer or thermal scanner device will record the internal temperature of every entrant, making sure that they are not above the temperature danger zone of 100.4 degrees. Anyone who exceeds the appropriate temperature will be denied access and directed otherwise.

Guests must be wearing a face mask that covers their nose and mouth in order to gain access into the casino. For patrons who need to be identified by security or other staff members, they may be asked to lower their masks to confirm identity.

Casino personnel stationed at entry points will receive additional training in how to properly identify guests who may be exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19, and incident protocols.

Occupancy will be monitored and enforced to ensure that the maximum limit of 15 percent isn’t gone over.

COVID-19 Preparedness Plan

Each of Detroit’s three casinos must be in compliance with local, state, and federal COVID-19 health requirements. Recommendations are also to be strongly considered and implemented.

Employees are to receive thorough COVID-19 training, discussing symptom identification, incident protocols, and proper use and disposal of personal protective equipment.

All employees will also be required to undergo a temperature check at the start of every shift to ensure their internal temperature is below 100.4 degrees.

Signage with CDC reminders will be placed throughout back-of-house areas to remind staff on how to conduct themselves to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

All publically-available items throughout the casinos which are regularly touched and used will be sanitized frequently. Those items include ATM machines, counters, door handles, elevator panels and buttons, restrooms, chairs, light switches, phones, kiosks, clocks, etc.

As often as available, disinfectant wipes will be placed throughout the casino to allow guests to disinfect surfaces after using them.

Enhanced cleaning protocols will be implemented throughout the front-of-house and back-of-house areas.

Slot Machines

All casinos are to schedule frequent cleanings of slot machines. To the extent available, disinfectant wipes should be made available near slot machines so players can use them to wipe down machines before use.

Casinos are to support the CDC’s social distancing guidelines by either installing plexiglass barriers between machines, removing every other chair from certain machines, or disabling certain slot machines altogether.

Table Games

In the casinos’ initial reopening, poker rooms will not be available.

All table games will be limited to three players each, with midi-baccarat games being limited to four players each, and craps games limited to six players each.

All dealers are to wear face masks or face shields when dealing with players.

Playing cards are to be replaced at the start of every shift, with casinos developing their own plans for having chips cleaned and sanitized daily.

For every new shooter, dice must be disinfected.

Those who are not playing at the table are not to congregate table games or stand behind players.

Queuing Areas

Queuing areas throughout the casino floors but be marked with floor markers to identify proper social distancing placement when in lines or other areas.

Elevator areas are to include signage requirement that no more than four people are to use an elevator at once.

Food and Beverage Service

Casino employees are to wear face masks throughout their shift and be conscious of practicing social distancing with every guest interaction, as feasibly possible, such as in the dispensation of food and drinks.

Prohibited Activities

The following activities are prohibited in the initial reopening of the casinos: Poker rooms, smoking on the casino floor, concerts, nightclubs, and all other forms of live entertainment, valet services, coat check, buffets, self-serve soda and coffee stations.

Sportsbook

Sportsbooks are to be rearranged to support social distancing among bettors. Floor marking at to be utilized in designated line areas, high-touch surfaces like tables, seats, and kiosks, must be frequently cleaned and sanitized, and ticket writers are to either wear face masks/shields and gloves or have a plexiglass barrier installed between them and sports bettors

Current COVID-19 Trends in Michigan

As of Monday, the state has reported 64,701 known cases of COVID-19 and 5,912 related deaths.

The new daily cases of COVID-19 continue to fall throughout the state, averaging 193 new daily cases currently, compared with the average of 283 daily cases over the previous five-day period.

Daily death trend is also falling, with an average of 21 deaths over the last five days, as compared with 33 days over the previous five-day stretch.

Stay Tuned

With Detroit casinos gearing up to reopen in the near future, it’s good to see that they’ve publically released their reopening safety protocols to instill some confidence in guests anxious to return.

What do you think of the restrictions? Will you be going to visit one of Detroit’s three casinos once they reopen?

Let us know in the comments below!

Scenes from Las Vegas’ Reopening: Bellagio Fountains, Packed Casinos, and COVID-19 Protocols

Bellagio Fountains in front of Bellagio Hotel in Las VegasIt’s been nearly three months, or 78 days, since Las Vegas casinos have been in operation, which makes today, June 4, a momentous day in Vegas history with the reopening of casinos across the state.

Many properties began reopening this morning at 9 a.m. MGM Resorts’ two casinos, which are opening initially ahead of its other eight Strip properties, include The Bellagio, which opened its doors at 10 a.m., and its sister property, New York-New York, who just opened one hour later.

One of the most exciting scenes this morning came with the reopening of The Bellagio resort, with the iconic Bellagio Fountains soaring into the sky again after being shut off on March 17.

A local Las Vegas high school teacher, Colleen Vosicky, excitedly drove down to the Bellagio this morning to see her two favorite things on the Strip: the Bellagio Fountains and Bellagio’s free Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, which is themed “Japan Journey: Magic of Kansai.”

Vosicky says the fountains are what “make Vegas, Vegas.” The second fountain show today played to Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas.”

The conservatory is now open to the public, but has ropes around its new display to encourage social distancing throughout the exhibit.

Tourists Return to the Entertainment Capital

While casinos reopened today, Las Vegas Boulevard was a mild scene with a handful of tourists roaming about. Most tourists were already inside of the reopened casinos.

Two annual visitors from Florida, Eyal Ben Shushan and Suzette Suarez, flew into Las Vegas on Thursday to get in on the reopening action. They plan on staying at the Venetian through Sunday.

“We love Vegas,” Ben Shushan said. “We have our spots that we like to see — not too much into the gambling as we adore the architecture and everything, to be honest. We just like traveling and getting and getting our head away from what we do in our daily lives.”

Suarez is a nurse who was ready for a much-needed vacation, and Shushan wanted to be in Vegas to celebrate his birthday this weekend. The pair felt like it was safe enough to return, especially with the newly implemented coronavirus safety measures, like Venetian’s Clean Initiative.

Two Illinois visitors, Kathy Massullo and her mom, Georgia Hess, are also staying at The Venetian and waiting an hour for it to reopen its door. The pair were not aware that Thursday was the first day casinos reopened, as they booked their reservation in advance and didn’t keep tabs on the local news.

Hess is most looking forward to making some winnings at the casino, while her daughter Massullo is grateful for the trip to spend a vacation and quality time with her mother after a long countrywide shutdown.

“We just enjoy being together with everything that’s been going on and trying to go back to a sense of normalcy — whatever that is — a new normal,” Massullo said.

Employees Return to their Casino Industry Work

Casino employees have been preparing to return to work for nearly two weeks, as tens of thousands of industry employees were pre-tested for COVID-19 before being allowed back on the job.

Employees were tested at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Las Vegas Sands Expo.

Greg Barlow, a bellman at Bellagio, returned to work bright and early at 7 a.m. this morning for the first time since March. Barlow said his couch was going to miss him.

Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO of MGM Resorts International, was back on the scene to welcome in visitors in Bellagio’s front lobby this morning. He elbow-bumped his fellow executives that were also on-site for the day reopening day.

Locals Return to the Casinos, Too

Plenty Williams, a local resident, said he waited nearly three months for this day to arrive in his hometown.

With two days off from his job, he headed down to the Fremont Street Experience for the traditional Vegas experience: gambling, having a few cocktails and relaxing in between.

He described the scene at the D Hotel as “vibrant” at 4:30am. Williams said the only thing that looks different about going inside is having your temperature checked. Guests put their wrist up to have their internal temperature taken, and are also offered a mask upon entering.

Williams said the coronavirus shutdown was a depressing moment for the city as a whole but is looking ahead towards Vegas new future.

“The reopening of Las Vegas, it has made me excited,” Williams said.

The reopening of Las Vegas casinos couldn’t have gone better for one local, Beth Toy. The Las Vegas resident returned to her very Las Vegas resort this morning, Red Rock Casino, and won $4,040 on a video poker machine after hitting four aces.

“This is too cool. I love Vegas,” Toy said. “This is my stress reliever. I wouldn’t have missed this.”

Toy wasn’t the only one dying to get back inside of Red Rock, as she was among hundreds of people who were lined up in front of the casino before it opened.

Downtown Casinos Opened a Day Earlier than Strip Properties

The scene downtown was vibrant and full of good vibes with the casinos reopening. In fact, hotel-casinos in downtown LV opened a day ahead of Strip properties and the pent-up demand to walk back into a casino door was high indeed.

At the D Las Vegas, the parking lot was full of patrons waiting until the clock struck midnight to reenter the casino floor. Only hotel guests were able to come inside of the property ahead of the midnight opening to the public.

Once the clock hit 12:01 a.m.on early Thursday morning, casinos in Downtown Las Vegas became packed.

The Fremont Street Experience, on the other hand, remained quiet through sunset. If you were looking to find the crowds on the morning of June 4, you would look no further than downtown casinos.

Dancers working at downtown casinos could be seen wearing masks and full plastic face shields as they spun around on tables.

“This is a tuxedo day. We’re kicking off Las Vegas. People are excited and curious,” casino owner Derek Stevens said the day of reopening.

Coronavirus Measures Put into Play

One of the most noticeable scenes on Las Vegas’ reopening day is the number of casino employees fanned out across the casino floor wiping down slot machines and other high-contact hard surfaces throughout the area.

Upon entering the casinos even, guests should expect to have their temperatures checked in a non-invasive manner.

Guests will also notice how much more space is in between table games and slot machines, as casino floors throughout properties across the whole valley have been rearranged to support social distancing guidelines.

Most, if not all, casino employees are wearing some type of facial coverings. Casino companies like Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts, and Caesars Entertainment are requiring their employees to wear masks at all times during their shifts, and are required to have masks available to offer to guests.

While guests are not mandated to wear facial coverings, they are strongly being encouraged to do so. Signage posted throughout the casinos also provides instructions on how to properly wear and dispose of masks, reminders for social distancing, and what to do if patrons notice someone is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Table games and sportsbooks also have plexiglass barriers and partitions added for extra protection for employees and guests, and contactless hotel check-ins are being offered at many properties to reduce guest interaction.

Reduced Capacity and Limited Strip Properties Open to Start

With Las Vegas reopening amid a global pandemic, they want to make sure they’re doing things right.

Upon reopening, many properties are implementing a reduced capacity rule to start. MGM Resorts, for example, is only allowing 25 perfect capacity.

Not all Las Vegas casinos have reopened right away either. MGM Resorts, for example, have only reopened two of their 10 Strip properties, The Bellagio and New York-New York. Caesars Entertainment reopening Caesars Palace and Flamingo on June 4, and will be opening up their Harrah’s property on Friday, June 5.

Casino companies are taking a careful, measured approach to reopening, making sure that nothing backfires in their face that would potentially cause another closure, and we applaud them for doing that.

Las Vegas Casinos that are Now Open

As of June 4, these Las Vegas casinos are open for business:

  • Boyd Gaming (Aliante, California, Cannery, Fremont, Gold Coast, Joker’s Wild, Sam’s Town, Suncoast, The Orleans)
  • Caesars Entertainment (Caesars Palace, Flamingo)
  • The Cosmopolitan
  • The D and Golden Gate
  • El Cortez
  • Ellis Island
  • Golden Nugget
  • MGM Resorts
  • M Resort
  • The Plaza
  • Sahara
  • Station Casinos (All Wildfire division properties, Boulder Station, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Red Rock, Santa Fe Station, Sunset Station)
  • Silverton
  • Silver Sevens
  • South Point
  • The Strat
  • Treasure Island
  • Tuscany Suites
  • The Venetian and Palazzo
  • Wynn and Encore

Stay Tuned

After a long, nearly three months of being shutdown, we’re more than thrilled that Las Vegas has finally reopened. The governor and city officials have taken the reopening very seriously, and we believe they’ve put Las Vegas in a position to win.

Are you excited that Las Vegas casinos have officially reopened? Will you be visiting the city anytime soon?

We’d love to see you back! Be sure to stay tuned for more updates regarding Las Vegas’ reopening.

How Las Vegas Sportsbooks Plan to Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Las Vegas SportsbookWhen Las Vegas sportsbooks finally reopen this Thursday, they’re going to look a lot different.

Sportsbooks across the valleys are implementing a whole new set of protocols in order to safely welcome back bettors while slowing down the spread of COVID-19.

According to Jay Kornegay, vice president of Westgate sportsbook, 60 percent of chairs will be removed to encourage social distancing, as well as removing every other seat in the racebook.

Finding a way to moderate capacity seems like the trend that many sportsbooks are going to do.

Along with sportsbooks rearranged to support social distancing, those placing wagers can bet on seeing plexiglass partitions at individual betting windows and signage posted to remind guests to keep their distance.

At William Hill kiosk locations, as well as select full-service retail books, specific signage will read “Beat the spread, practice physical distancing,” making sure guests know to keep the designated space while in line.

Ticket writers will also be spread out to every other window, to guide social distancing. High-touch areas of sportsbooks, like counters, chairs, and kiosks will be wiped down and sanitized frequently to prevent are dangerous bacteria from remaining on surfaces.

Changes Coming to Casinos Offering Sportsbooks Across Las Vegas

It’s most likely that sportsbook employees will be wearing guests while on duty. Staff at Station Casinos, South Point, and Circa Sports, for instance, will all be required to wear face coverings, and each casino will take it a step further by conducting non-invasive temperature scans on all hotel guests and staff members.

Casino gaming floors will also be rearranged to support social distancing, and hand sanitizer dispensers will be found in high-traffic areas throughout the properties.

Other casinos, like South Point, are taking an additional precautionary measure by spray cleaning its sportsbook, racebook, bingo hall, and restaurants with electrostatic fogging machines.

“It looks like the backpack from ‘Ghostbusters.’ We’ll go through every night and fog all the rooms down,” said South Point general manager Ryan Growney.

Sportsbook Operators Are Excited to Reopen

Despite the current somber and worrisome scene across the Las Vegas valley right now due to prolonged protests and the coronavirus still being in the air, sportsbook operators are looking forward to reopening within a couple of days, as it’s been a long time coming.

“We’re certainly excited to open up our doors and get people back on the property. Not only for the hotel-casinos but the sportsbooks as well,” said Jeff Benson, operations manager for Circa, which has books at the Golden Gate and D Las Vegas in Downtown Las Vegas.

These Las Vegas Casinos Plan to Reopen on June 4

Las Vegas StripLast Tuesday, Gov. Steve Sisolak gave the go-ahead to casinos to reopen on June 4, as was tentatively planned.

This is major news for the popular tourist and gaming destination, as casinos in Las Vegas have waiting a long two months to see the light of day again.

The reopening decision came on the heels of the Silver State entering Phase 2 of its reopening plan, coupled with a positive decline in COVID-19 trends and data from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

While all casinos will be able to open next week, that doesn’t mean that all of them are planning to. Major casino operators, like MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, will be opening only two of their 10 Strip properties initially. Of those operators, The Bellagio, New York-New York, Caesars Palace, and Flamingo will resume operations to start.

Here’s a look into other Las Vegas casino-hotels that are planning on opening up next Thursday, June 4.

Boyd Gaming

On Wednesday, Boyd Gaming announced it would be reopening several of its Nevada properties, and that they are excited for the opportunity to resume operations in its home state.

The properties they’re reopening in Nevada include:

  • Aliante
  • California
  • Cannery
  • Fremont
  • Gold Coast
  • Joker’s Wild
  • Sam’s Town
  • Suncoast
  • The Orleans

Boyd Gaming CEO Keith Smith said the company will have 19 of its 29 properties across the country opened initially, and plan to have its remaining properties reopened by the end of June.

Caesars Entertainment

On Wednesday, Caesars Entertainment announced that by 10 am, June 4, Caesars Palace and Flamingo will be open for business.

Because of public demand, the company also announced that on June 5 at 11 am, Harrah’s Las Vegas will also reopen.

“Initial customer demand to visit the Las Vegas Strip has been much stronger than anticipated, triggering our decision to reopen Harrah’s Las Vegas, in addition to Caesars Palace, Flamingo and LINQ Promenade, next week,” Caesars CEO Tony Rodio explained in a statement.

The Cosmopolitan

On Wednesday, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas announced it would reopen on June 4 at 10 am, dependent on approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The property has been fine-tuning and expanding their existing health and safety guidelines, to include several new enhancements.

Those enhancements include non-invasive temperature screenings, rearranging the casino floor plan to support social distancing initiatives, and increased sanitation measures. 

The D and Golden Gate

The D and Golden Gate will both be reopening June 4.

The reopening announcement came with owner Derek Stevens’ giveaway of 1,000 free flights to Las Vegas, to incentivize tourists to return sooner rather than later.

According to Stevens, the giveaway was part of an effort to safely bring visitors to the city, while also reminding them why the city earned its title of “Entertainment Capital of the World.”

El Cortez

According to the general manager, the historic downtown property will reopen at midnight on June 4.

The property is looking forward to welcoming back its extended El Cortez family of employees and guests and welcoming them back safely early next Thursday morning.

The company has been testing out plexiglass barriers, or “sneeze guards” on its blackjack tables and in between slot machines on the casino floor to safely welcome back guests. 

Ellis Island

The slightly off-Strip property, located on Flamingo Road and Koval Lane near Las Vegas Boulevard, confirmed they will be reopening their doors on June 4.

The smaller property is known for its live karaoke and 24-hour café. 

Golden Nugget

According to its website, Golden Nugget will be reopening its hotel first, on Wednesday, June 3 at 3 pm. The rest of the property, including its gaming floor, will reopen on June 4.

The website says the company is excited to welcome guests back, “just in time for summer fun.”

MGM Resorts

On Wednesday, MGM Resorts announced the reopening of The Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand, and The Signature on June 4.

According to the company, more of its properties on the Las Vegas Strip will reopen as demand increases.

“As we plan for these openings, the health and safety or our guests and employees is at the forefront of all we do. Getting many of our employees back to work and welcoming guests through our doors once again will allow us to do what we do best – entertain. The team is ready and we can’t wait,” said acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle.

M Resort

M Resort announced that it would be reopening on June 4, although multiple amenities, such as the spa, pool, valet, convention center area, and banquet services will remain closed in the meantime.

“While the amenities our customers have come to know and love may be somewhat limited for the time being, the ability to safely welcome back our team members and guests remain our top priority,” M Resort general manager Hussain Mahrous said in a statement.

 The Plaza

On Wednesday, the Plaza announced that it would be reopening on June 4.

Entrances to the property will be reduced, as well as having curbside check-in available for guests to minimize contact. All employees will be required to wear masks and guests will be encouraged to do so. Staff will also have their temperatures checked before starting their shift.

Sahara

On the company’s Twitter page, they announced they’ll be reopening June 4.

The property will do a phased reopening. On its first day back, the casino floor, several dining outlets, rooftop pools, and Starbucks will be open for business.

Sahara says it’s committed to guest and staff safety, and any changes done will be to adhere to social distancing and safety guidelines.

Station Casinos

On Wednesday, Station Casino announced that several of its properties will be opening on June 4.

Those properties include:

  • All Wildfire division properties
  • Boulder Station
  • Green Valley Ranch
  • Palace Station
  • Red Rock
  • Santa Fe Station
  • Sunset Station

 Silverton

According to a Silverton company spokesman, the property will be reopening June 4 at 10 am. 

Silver Sevens

Silver Sevens will be reopening its doors on June 4 at 10 am.

According to the company, they will be making hotel reservations beginning June 18.

Initially, the property will be opening slots and limited food and beverage options once it reopens. 

South Point

Pending approval from the Control Board, South Point will be reopening June 4.

The Strat

According to Golden Entertainment, the company that owns the casino-hotel, The Strat Casino, Hotel, and SkyPod will be reopening bright and early at 8 am on June 4.

The property will be reopening to reduced capacity, at 50 percent, to allow for property social distancing.

As an added bonus, the company is offering up to a 45 percent discount on room reservations.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island will be reopening its doors on June 4 at 10 am.

The pool, spa, restaurants, and gift shops will also be available on opening day, as well as free self-parking.

On June 5, the sportsbook will open back up as well.

Tuscany Suites

On their Twitter, the company announced on Wednesday that it will be reopening June 4 at 4 am.

With the state in Phase 2, Tuscany Suites was able to reopen its Piazza Lounge on Friday, May 29.

The Venetian and Palazzo

Both The Venetian and Palazzo will be reopening jointly at 9am on June 4.

Wynn and Encore

On Wednesday, Wynn Resorts announced they would be reopening Wynn Las Vegas and Encore towers on June 4.

NV Governor Sisolak Aims for June 4 Reopening Date for Casinos

Las Vegas Strip at NightIt’s now officially been two weeks since Nevada has been in Phase 1 of its reopening plan, which it entered in on May 9.

Governor Sisolak advised that coronavirus data trends, including the number of daily positive cases, hospitalizations, and COVID-19-related deaths, would be monitored over the 14-day period to determine whether Nevada would be able to enter into Phase 2.

So far, so good it seems. The Silver State hasn’t seen any significant jumps in coronavirus reports, paving the way for Nevada to fully reopen as things stand now.

On May 26, Sisolak is set to hold a press conference discussing Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan, as well as a reopening date for Nevada’s gaming industry. The Nevada Gaming Control Board will also hold an information workshop then discussing COVID-19 health and safety response measures for casino-hotels.

Before casinos are able to reopen, the Control Board needs at least seven days to review reopening plans from Nevada properties.

But this is great news for the state’s gaming industry, after a two-month-long shutdown, Nevada casinos finally have an end in sight. Sisolak says the state aims to have casinos statewide reopened by June 4.

Casinos are Eager and Ready to Return

The tentative reopening date has been a long time coming for Nevada casinos, who have been preparing for the day they get the green light to reopen for the past few weeks.

A majority of the companies in Las Vegas have been opening booking dates since Mid-May, with some of them accepting reservations for Memorial Day Weekend, a date they hoped they would get to reopen.

Many casinos have had to remain flexible with their booking dates, opening up booking dates just in case they were allowed to reopen, only to cancel them later when they didn’t actually get the green light.

But preparing to reopen has kept them busy enough until they get the official announcement from Gov. Sisolak. Resorts have been carefully developing their reopening plans, including a hefty list of specific health and safety protocols to ensure their properties are ready enough to welcome back guests and staff.

“It’s been a long two months for us. It’s been a long two months for everyone in the state, but we’re ready to go back to business in Nevada,” said Boyd Gaming Corp. spokesman David Strow.

Strip resorts are ready to finally open their doors, and for properties like Wynn Resorts, they’re looking forward to working with regulators to open safely and on time. The mass testing of casino employees officially went underway last Thursday, to prepare for casinos reopening.

According to Wynn Resorts spokesman Michael Weaver, the company applauds the Nevada governor for his targeted June 4 reopening date.

Weaver says Sisolak’s careful, science-based approach to shutting down casinos and halting tourism to stop the spread of the coronavirus is what has effectively enabled the state to finally open its economy back up, avoiding what could have been a possible catastrophe and an even longer lockdown period.

Tourists are Ready to Return, Too

With the whole country on lockdown practically these past two months too, the cabin fever has many ready to return to the city of lights. And while the virus is still an ever-present concern, Strip casinos are doing everything they can to make guests feel confident to return to their properties.

Their new safety protocols include everything from thermal screenings or entrants and ensuring that all staff members wear face masks, to rearranging casino floors to support social distancing and the careful monitoring of HVAC systems to name a few.

Combine these publicized reopening plans with the eagerness of the public to finally get out of the house and “return to normal”, and now you have Las Vegas in the prime position to welcome back guests at a more opportune time.

One frequent visitor from Fresco, CA, Virginia Allegra, says she plans to come back to Las Vegas as soon as it reopens. She’s so eager to return, in fact, that she’s already rebooked six separate reservations with MGM Resorts. The re-bookings were due to the company’s tentative reopening dates being pushed back several times this month.

Another frequent visitor from California, Joann Woodward, a nurse practitioner from Downey, says she plans on returning in mid-June, in order to give casino companies enough time to work out their new reopening measures.

And while she’s a nurse, she says she feels pretty safe in casinos.

“I’m a nurse practitioner, I already wash my hands 40, 50 times a day. I’m not going to shake hands with anybody or hug them,” Woodward added.

Control Board Holds a Lot of Weight in Decision to Officially Reopen

In Sisolak’s Thursday announcement of the tentative June 4 reopening date for Nevada’s gaming industry, he explained that the official decision to reopen is dependent on the evaluation of the state’s COVID-19 trends, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s meeting results.

The Governor should be provided with enough information to feel confident about his decision to reopen June 4 with the Control Board’s information workshop, plus positive COVID-19 state trends, should they continue to remain steady and not significantly increase.

Should the early June reopening date hold firm, it will allow casinos across the state at least two weeks to prepare.

That should hopefully give properties enough time to remobilize their workforce, iron out reopening measures, and begin marketing and promotional blasts to get guests back to their doors.

“It’ll be good to see the energy and the jobs and the life come back to the Strip, even under these unusual circumstances,” said Brendan Bussmann, director of government affairs for Las Vegas-based Global Market Advisors LLC.

Reopening Announcement Came Soon After NV’s Unemployment Numbers Were Disclosed

Gov. Sisolak’s tentative reopening date announcement came on the heels of disclosing the state’s shocking unemployment rate: 28.2 percent.

According to targetable data, that’s the highest unemployment rate of any state in any month since 1976. The rate is so high that even local economists are alarmed by it.

While the numbers are shocking, it’s no surprise that a state that’s largely dependent on tourism and gaming, two industries that were knocked flat on their back by the coronavirus pandemic, has been impacted in the way that it has been.

Jeremy Aguero, an economist with Applied Analysis, says that reviving Nevada’s gaming industry will likely be the driving force in bringing the state’s economy back to life.

“It’s an important first step in pushing our economy forward, getting our economy back to where it was previously,” Aguero said. “There’s a great deal of uncertainty, but we’re taking steps to open all facets of our economy, and that’s exactly what needs to be done.”

Reopening Must be Done Successfully to Avoid Second Wave of the Virus

The Governor has been understandably plagued by his decision to reopen the state at the right time.

There’s obviously a lot that’s weighing on his decision, but no bigger issues than the health of the public and the health of the economy.

For one, the economy and livelihood of industry workers are dependent on the gaming industry reopening. It would mean that thousands of Nevadans could return to work and that the state could start generating sizable income again.

But on the other hand, the health and safety of the public in the face of the deadly coronavirus has been paramount in the decisions that have been made up to this point. The reopening needs to happen at the right time, at the right time, to avoid potentially running into a second wave of the virus.

That’s been a major reason why the decision to reopen has been solely dependent on the state’s COVID-19 trends. If reopening happened prematurely, it could have exacerbated the number of COVID-19 cases, and effectively sent the state back into lockdown.

Sisolak has been clear that that’s a situation he’s been trying to avoid from happening since the state of all this.

Stay Tuned

After what feels like months of waiting for a specific reopening date, the state finally has one.

It feels like there’s finally a light at the end of this long COVID-19 tunnel, and while we know it will take some time for Las Vegas to thrive like it did before this virus hit, we’re ecstatic that it will get to reopen soon.

What do you think of the state’s tentative June 4 reopening date? Will you be returning once casinos open up their doors? Share with us in the comments below!

Be sure to check back for the latest coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Begins Mass Testing of Casino Employees Ahead of Reopening

Las Vegas Convention CenterWith casinos in Las Vegas gearing to reopen their doors in the very near future, with some resorts aiming for a June 1st reopening, the city will begin testing the first of thousands of casino employees for the new coronavirus starting this Thursday.

According to the official plan announced by several casino operators, local tourism, union, and hospital officials, the first group of casino employees that will get tested are those who are receiving job callbacks ahead of Las Vegas resorts reopening.

Officials have a hefty goal in mind for the testing, aiming to get 4,000 test samples administered for the coronavirus checkup daily. Results are expected to be delivered within 48 hours, and employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be referred to the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) to get contact tracing conducted.

Why Mass Testing Casino Employees is Essential

With casino employees on the verge of entering back into the gaming industry workforce, it’s vital that precautions are taken to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in Clark County, especially when casinos will be repopulated by numerous staff and guests again soon.

The prevention of the spread of COVID-19 starts with preliminary measures, like getting employees tested before they even step foot back onto the job-site.

According to Geoconda Argüello-Kline, union secretary-treasurer, coronavirus testing ensures that Culinary Union members are safe and healthy enough to come back to work. Before Las Vegas resorts even open again, the health and safety of staff and visitors is the number one priority.

It will also give out-of-town visitors more confidence to return to the Las Vegas Strip, knowing that the city is taking the health of their staff very seriously.

In the same way that the public will get a sense of ease from knowing casino operators’ reopening plans, is the same way they’ll gain more peace by knowing that tens of thousands of casino employees have been tested for COVID-19 and only the ones who have tested negative for the virus will be allowed back to work.

MGM Resorts & Caesars Entertainment Will Have the Highest Numbers of Employees Testing

It’s no surprise that the Strip’s two largest casino operators, MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment, will make up the bulk of employee testing. Both companies have 10 Strip properties each, with over 150,000 hotel rooms between them.

Former MGM Resorts executive, Jim Murren, is helping lead the way for employee testing by the efforts he’s put forth in helping state marshals boost testing capacity.

Caesars CEO, Tony Rodio, also recently announced that company employees would be given a questionnaire before returning to work that will determine their immediate need to be tested for COVID-19.

Testing to be held at Las Vegas Convention Center

The largest mass testing site in Nevada to date will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, as it has an adequate amount of space to pull off the required casino employee testing.

The center will work in partnership with University Medical Center (UMC), the Culinary Union and MGM, Caesars, and Boyd Gaming Properties in testing up to 4,000 casino employees a day.

“This is huge for Las Vegas,” says UMC Spokesman Scott Kerbs.

According to Boyd Properties, any employee who is returning to work will be getting tested at the Convention Center.

Current Coronavirus Cases in Nevada

On Tuesday, state health officials reported over 7,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and 365 related deaths.

Over the past few weeks, the number of cases has steadied out with no significant daily jumps in reported cases or deaths.

Right now, Nevada is in Phase 1 of its reopening plan, which it entered into on May 9. Phase 1 called for the reopening of retail stores, restaurants, barbers, hair, and nail salons at 50 percent capacity.

Governor Sisolak advised that he and his team of medical experts would monitor the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over a 14-day period once the state entered into Phase 1. Sisolak said the next steps would be determined after reviewing those results. According to the Governor’s phased reopening plan, casinos will reopen in Phase 3 or 4.

Stay Tuned

The announcement of mass testing of casino employees is a good sign that casinos will be reopening sometime soon.

What do you think about Las Vegas getting 4,000 casino employees tested daily, ahead of casinos reopening?

As a visitor or casino worker, does it give you more peace of mind to return to Las Vegas resorts? We’d love to hear your thoughts below. Stay safe, and continue to check back for the latest coronavirus coverage in Las Vegas.

The Venetian Offering Free Night Stay for Essential Workers

The Venetian Resort in Las VegasThe spirit of giving has been strong in The Venetian Las Vegas, even throughout the coronavirus shutdown that has crippled the Las Vegas economy. From the beginning of the month through May 14, the resort partnered with Catholic Charities to provide 1,000 boxed meals daily to the homeless throughout the valley.

The company also graciously continued to offer full pay and benefits to its 9,300 employees through May 17. Emergency pay for close to 1,200 employees spanning across 14 different Venetian restaurants was also covered.

And on April 1, the Venetian’s parent company, Las Vegas Sands Corp., donated two million pieces of personal protective equipment to Nevada and New York.

Now, the Venetian want to say thank you in its own way to local first responders and essential workers. Until the end of the year, the casino-hotel will be offering one free night stay to those have been on the front lines during the pandemic.

Those front-line workers who will be eligible to redeem the free night stay include those from the following sectors:

  • Agriculture, livestock & feed mills
  • Air transportation
  • Auto repair services & trucking service centers
  • Banks & financial institutions
  • Businesses or organizations providing food, shelter, or critical social services for disadvantaged populations
  • Educators, childcare centers and daycares
  • Essential stays in hotels, commercial lodging, dormitories, shelters, and homeless encampments
  • Fire services, law enforcement agencies, emergency medical services & public safety agencies
  • Food processing
  • Gas stations & truck stops
  • Grocery stores, supermarkets, hardware stores, convenience & discount stores
  • Healthcare services
  • Home maintenance/repair services
  • Laundromats & dry cleaners
  • Logistics & Supply Chain Operations: Warehousing, storage, distribution, and supply-chain related operations
  • Pharmacies, healthcare operations, & biomedical facilities
  • Post offices & shipping outlets
  • Public transportation
  • Public utilities
  • Trash collection
  • Veterinary services & pet stores

The Resort Will Start Accepting Reservations for June 1

While many casino operators were banking on a Memorial Day Weekend reopening, with the weekend quickly approaching, it’s highly unlikely casinos will be given the green light to reopen by week’s end.

Instead, The Venetian is anticipating a reopening date of June 1 and will start accepting reservations for that date on its official website soon. The company will reopen in phases, with the Venetian tower being the first to accept hotel reservations, with the Palazzo accepting reservations at a later date.

In the statement the company released announcing their decision to begin accepting reservations, they advised that they will continue to comply with guidance provided by federal, state, and local authorities which include the Southern Nevada Health District, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention and the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Venetian Clean Initiative Will Ensure Guests Return to a Safe Property

The Venetian Clean commitment, which was released at the end of April, outlined the specific health and safety protocols the resort plans to implement upon reopening.

That initiative includes 800 separate initiatives that have been thoughtfully considered and chosen based on the level of safety it will provide to guests and staff members.

Some of those major protocols include the thermal screening of all casino entrants, including staff and guests, offering face masks for guests to wear, requiring employees to wear masks, and rearranging the casino floor to support social distancing.

Stay Tuned

It’s impressive to see just how generous The Venetian has been in serving others during these challenging times. The list of frontline workers that will be able to receive a complimentary night stay at the luxury resort is extensive, and we’re glad that these brave workers will be able to have a night to enjoy themselves, free of charge.

What do you think of Venetian’s free night stay offer? Are you a frontline worker in the Las Vegas valley who will take advantage of the offer?

Share with us below!