Nevada Regulators Praised For Tiering Worker Vaccines With Gaming Floor Occupancy

Posted on: April 12, 2021, 07:55h. 

Last updated on: April 12, 2021, 10:12h.

Gaming law professors gave high marks to Nevada’s decision to consider the number of casino workers who have gotten COVID-19 vaccines when deciding future occupancy levels of gaming floors.

Getting as many people as possible vaccinated, decreases the chances of the disease spreading.
Robert Jarvis, a law professor at Florida’s Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard College of Law, shown here. Jarvis complimented Nevada’s decision to consider the number of casino workers who have gotten COVID-19 vaccines when deciding future occupancy levels of gaming floors. (Image: NSU)

Robert Jarvis, a law professor at Florida’s Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard College of Law, called the April 2 notice — which explains the tiering process — a “very reasonable and thoughtful, approach.

“Getting as many people as possible vaccinated decreases the chances of the disease spreading. If I had been on the gaming board, I would have fully endorsed the board’s approach,” Jarvis told Casino.org.

What the board is doing … is setting up a classic carrots-and-sticks scenario,” Jarvis added. “It is saying to casinos: We want you to get your workforce vaccinated. And if you do, we will reward you by letting you have more customers on your gaming floor.”

As of May 1, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) will be able to set casino floor capacity. The current state-mandated capacity is 50 percent.

Any Legal Challenge to Regulatory Notice Has Got Hurdles

When asked about the NGCB and Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) notice announcing the plan, Jarvis noted how regulators included many statutory and case law citations.

Still, despite the legal verbiage, it is possible the notice could be challenged in court, Jarvis said.

“Obviously, the NGCB is quite concerned with whether its approach is legal,” Jarvis said.  But casinos likely will not file a challenge, he adds.

Or, a group of casino workers could sue their employers in a class action. The workers could argue they don’t want to get vaccinated for something like medical, religious, or moral reasons.

By refusing to take the vaccine, they could get fired by employers, because casinos are incentivized under the notice to have a fully-vaccinated workforce, Jarvis said. The reasoning also may meet with skepticism from a judge.

Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, added that the notice “may help some casino companies … to encourage vaccinations among their workers.”

Most casinos are already working to encourage their employees to get vaccinated, and are providing the incentives and ease of access. Still, hopefully, this will encourage more workers to take steps to allow the industry to return to normalcy,” Cabot told Casino.org.

When asked about the issue, Bethany Khan, a spokeswoman for the Culinary Union, told Casino.org the union “applauds the hospitality industry for making on-site vaccinations available to employees and for ensuring that workers have adequate access during their shift to get vaccinated.”

The union strongly encourages hospitality workers to get vaccinated and take advantage of the onsite vaccines.

“Getting vaccinated is a critical step to completely reopening Las Vegas, getting workers back to work, protecting our families, and helping our union stay strong,” Geoconda Arguello-Kline, secretary-treasurer of the Culinary Union, said in a statement.

Las Vegas Vaccines Provided to Workers at Casinos

MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have begun onsite vaccine clinics at Mandalay Bay and Rio Casino.

Station Casinos also has partnered with American Medical Response to put shots in workers’ arms as of last week. Station employees will be able to receive their vaccines at six casino locations in Las Vegas and Henderson.

The Cosmopolitan and Wynn Resorts are also offering their workers onsite vaccines. The Cosmopolitan has aligned with Impact Health to administer the injections.