Nevada Limits Casino Player Numbers, Caps Meeting Attendance to Reduce Risk

Posted on: May 5, 2020, 01:02h. 

Last updated on: May 5, 2020, 10:07h.

Nevada gaming properties will have multiple safety requirements in place, such as no more than three to six guests at gaming tables, before they can let visitors back in, according to the state’s Gaming Control Board.

Casino Safety Requirements
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak continues to shutter the state’s casinos, as the Gaming Control Board releases a policy for casino reopening precautions. (Image: Getty Images/Alex Wong)

Under a new policy, specific restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus must be included in reopening plans. They range from social distancing to limits on the number of players.

For instance, there will be only three players at a blackjack table, four players at a roulette or poker table, and six players at a craps table under the suggestions in the policy. Casino floors can have no more than half of the maximum number of guests, as previously identified by authorities.

Social distancing requirements could include removing chairs in front of every other slot machine. That will cut the number of slots in use to at least about half.

Restaurants and bars will have fewer available seats. So, too, will pools.

Nightclubs, as well as day clubs, will be kept shuttered. Convention and meeting areas will be limited to no more than 250 people in a space.

The venues must also provide more hand wipes and sanitizer stations. Cards, chips, tables, and other frequently touched surfaces must be cleaned regularly, as will be many items in hotel rooms, lobbies, and back-of-house operations.

If a hotel guest is found to have COVID-19, the room must be thoroughly cleaned. Until sanitized, the room cannot be given to another guest.

“In consultation with the … Governor, as well as federal, state, and local health officials, the [Gaming Control] Board has created this Policy to diminish personal contact and increase the level of disinfection in high-use areas, and expects full compliance with this Policy by its non-restricted licensees,” the seven-page policy said.

Casinos Need to Submit Reopening Plan

Each casino must present a specific plan to officials at least a week before opening. “All final decisions on how gaming establishments reopen … will be determined by the Board and presented to the Nevada Gaming Commission for ratification,” the policy adds.

Initially, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak shuttered casinos on March 17 because of the pandemic. The closings were extended, and now properties will not be reopened until at least later this month.

As of now, some gaming venues may try to reopen by Memorial Day. Others may reopen next month.

Capacity to Be Restricted at Smaller Venues

Smaller gaming operations, such as those found in supermarkets and convenience stores, will also be limited to letting in only half of previously identified legal capacities. The smaller venues will also need to have social distancing and disinfecting precautions in place.

Employees will have to undertake safety precautions, too, at all gaming operations. They could wear protective equipment, like masks or gloves.

Last week, management at casino companies and individual gaming properties were unsure when they would reopen venues and what the gaming floor would look like when guests are allowed to return. “When we are permitted to reopen, we don’t know what business will look like, other than knowing that business levels will be lower as a result of this unprecedented crisis,” Station Casinos CEO Frank Fertitta III wrote in a letter to company workers.