Nevada Gaming Board Chairwoman Wants Masks on Casino Visitors, Warns Properties About Lapses
Posted on: June 11, 2020, 06:43h.
Last updated on: June 12, 2020, 09:18h.
Sandra Douglass Morgan, chairwoman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and several social media posters want to see more players and visitors to the state’s casinos wearing masks and practicing social distancing. The comments come as many Las Vegas gaming venues complete their first week of resumed operations on Thursday, June 11.
Masks are optional, but recommended for guests in the recently reopened casinos after months of shuttering because of the coronavirus. Venues must provide them to those who ask for facial coverings.
“Obviously, all the employees at the properties I visited [over the past weekend] were wearing masks,” Morgan told KVVU TV, a local Las Vegas station, on Wednesday. “But I would have liked to see more patrons wearing masks, in all honesty.”
She added that the concern is something “we’ve reiterated with our gaming licensees as well.” Morgan did not give specific percentages on how many casino visitors were wearing masks.
About half of the guests were seen wearing masks at casinos visited by Las Vegas Review-Journal reporters last Thursday and Friday. Some guests also violated social distancing regulations.
But she noted that the board wants to see casinos encourage visitors to wear them, and recounted how multiple health professionals warned during a board workshop last month that everyone at the casinos should be wearing masks, given the risk of COVID-19.
The gaming board has also sent out its inspectors to monitor activities at the gaming properties that began reopening on June 4, Morgan confirmed. The board has 80 sworn officers and about 390 employees.
“All employees, regardless of their division, have definitely been our eyes and ears on the ground for properties…,” Morgan said. They look at not just the resort casinos, but bars, taverns, grocery stores, and convenience stores where licensed gaming takes place.
We’re definitely out there looking. We haven’t seen anything egregious enough to require an emergency shutdown,” Morgan announced. She noted the board has enforcement authority that even can lead to revocation of a license or imposing fines.
The initial goal for properties is compliance with rules. But after three or four violations, she warned, “If we are seeing repeat offenders, we will definitely have the ability to pursue….”
The state’s gaming board and gaming commission could also soon approve, adding cashless wagering options. These would allow the use of a debit card at gaming tables or at a gaming device under certain circumstances, Morgan said.
They need to be operated via approved wagering systems. But they may allow for less risk of coronavirus transmission.
Social Media Posters Spot Mask-free Gamblers
Last Thursday, several posters on KVVU also noted how multiple casino visitors failed to wear masks or did not practice appropriate social distancing in Las Vegas.
For instance, Paul Freeman reported there was a “Cesspool of corona. Like that social distancing. 2nd wave, here we come!!!!”
In addition, AztecMMA added “not a mask in sight lol ….”
Also, The Karma Outfit @1SouthSideIrish complained “5% of people with masks & 0.0% of people social distancing. Yeah – This should go well!?! #LasVegas.”
Contrary Opinion on Wearing of Masks
But not everyone backs the wearing of masks. One contrarian poster on Casino.org, Kelley, said on Wednesday, “There have been no scientific studies done to prove if masks keep you or the … other from getting sick.
“There [have] … been studies done that scientifically prove that we can get sick from wearing a mask. Lack of oxygen, high levels of cortisol, and breathing back in carbon dioxide. I am really disappointed over the whole mask-wearing thing.”