Nevada Gaming Control Board Issues Memo on Reopening Casinos, Offers No Restart Date

Posted on: April 23, 2020, 03:23h. 

Last updated on: April 23, 2020, 04:04h.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board released a six-page memo outlining procedures for reopening casinos in the state, but didn’t venture a guess on when they might be back open for business.

Nevada Gaming Control Board memo
The Nevada Gaming Control Board has issued a memo outlining the steps casinos must take in order to reopen. (Image: Ed Komenda/Reno Gazette Journal)

The policy memorandum dealt with issues like how to reinstate fired or furloughed employees and how to handle reopening parts of casinos, but said Gov. Steve Sisolak is responsible for deciding when that process should begin.

Memo Offers Logistical Relief for Reopening

Clarity on those issues is important to casino executives, as existing regulations could complicate returning from the COVID-19 pandemic. The memo suggests that casinos will be able to register former employees who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus within a single day, for instance. However, those employees may work for up to 30 days while waiting to renew those registrations.

Many of the other points also deal with logistical hurdles. For instance, some required filings will now be due “no later than 30 days after the Governor authorizes the reopening of gaming operations.” Cash on hand requirements for casinos will also be waived for a week after gaming is once again authorized.

The list of 18 points included in the memo are meant to comprise a minimum list of requirements and considerations casinos take when crafting their reopening plans, which must be sent to gaming authorities at least a week before a gaming venue wants to be back in business.

“These procedures are not intended to be all-encompassing,” the memo reads. “Other steps may be necessary and should be determined on an individual basis, and in consultation with the Board, as necessary.”

Governor, Mayor Far Apart on Return of Casino Gaming

When Las Vegas casinos should reopen has become a topic of considerable debate, to put it mildly. On Wednesday, Gov. Sisolak told reporters that Nevada was not yet ready to begin reopening nonessential businesses in the state.

Experience gleaned from other countries teaches us that we cannot flip the light switch and turn our lives or our economy back on too quickly,” Sisolak said at the press conference. “We still have a responsibility to protect people and to protect our economy. Even though the models look good for Nevada right now, we’re not out of the woods yet.”

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman showed far less patience during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Wednesday afternoon. During the contentious back-and-forth, Goodman revealed that she had suggested that Las Vegas be a “placebo” that allowed businesses to reopen and life to return to normal, to provide data on how that would compare to areas that continued practicing stay-at-home orders.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board memo acknowledges that both Sisolak and Goodman will need to weigh-in before casinos start to reopen.

“Licensees should verify with all other state and local government entities to ensure compliance with their specific reopening requirements,” the memo says. “Additionally, licensees must comply with all prescribed local, state and federal COVID-19 health requirements.”