Nevada Gaming Control Board Issues Casino Reopening Guidelines

  • Casinos will remain closed as stay-at-home order is due to be lifted on May 15 
  • Board is asking all licensees to submit COVID-19 plan seven days before intended reopening date
  • Reduction by up to 50% capacity plus new floor plan and seating arrangements expected
  • Operators must ensure social distancing at table games, regular disinfection of equipment
row of casino gambling machines in a Nevada casino
The GCB will require casinos in Nevada to submit and implement a COVID-19 prevention plan before reopening to the public. [Image:]

Measures for maintaining social distancing

The Gaming Control Board (GCB) in Nevada has issued new health and safety policy guidelines detailing how casinos should plan to reopen and maintain social distancing amid the ongoing pandemic.

The two notices include a seven-page list for non-restricted license holders and a shorter four-page version for gambling providers with restricted licenses. Among the latter are convenience stores, supermarkets, bars, and restaurants with 15 or fewer slot machines.

Casinos have been closed since March 17, when Governor Steve Sisolak ordered their shutdown following the outbreak of COVID-19. While some businesses will be able to open as soon as May 15 when the stay-at-home order is lifted, casinos will have to wait.

submit a reopening plan a minimum of seven days before

Each gambling license holder is expected to submit a reopening plan a minimum of seven days before they intend to resume operation.

Capacity reduction to be outlined in prevention plan

The GCB has now added to its previous guidance, asking casinos to create and implement a COVID-19 prevention plan. The plan will now be part of the process for any casino to reopen once gambling businesses are given the go-ahead to do so by the Governor of Nevada.

gambling outlets will be limited to 50% capacity

The board has confirmed that gambling outlets will be limited to 50% capacity according to local building and fire codes. Casinos must also prove that hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are readily available to both staff and customers. The occupancy rules will also affect restricted licensees.

There may also have to be changes to floor plans in order to stick to the six-meter social distancing guidelines between customers.

While licensees are free to propose their own ideas, the GCB’s suggestions include the removal of stools and chairs in front of every other gaming machine to prevent customers from standing too close to each other. Employees will need to be tasked to ensure that congregating between groups doesn’t occur.

Table games will also see restrictions

To ensure social distancing, table games including blackjack, craps, roulette, and poker will also have limited capacity once casino action resumes. The regular cleaning of rails, chairs, dice, and roulette wheels will need to be factored into the reopening plan. An operator must also address how the disinfection of casino chips will be carried out.

While casinos may be likely to reopen if they can fully address the GCB’s concerns, large gatherings are still prohibited. This means that nightclubs and day clubs must still remain closed, alongside convention centers and meeting spaces. There is also strict guidance when it comes to food and drinks served in casino outlets, from reduced seating in bars to appropriate distancing when it comes to tables and customers.

Some casinos are hoping to open in time for Memorial Day, which falls on May 25. However, as no official confirmation has been issued to date, most gambling facilities are getting ready for a June reopening.

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