Sahara Is First Vegas Strip Casino to Be Hit With COVID-19 Complaint

  • NGCB said the Sahara failed to comply with social distancing measures on two counts
  • Casino failed to enforce social distancing among patrons, hosted luncheon with 135 attendees
  • Complaint is the fourth issued by the board in relation to COVID-19 health and safety breaches
The Sahara Las Vegas hotel and casino property lit at nighttime
The Sahara is the first Vegas Strip casino to get a coronavirus-related complaint from the NGCB. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Update: The Sahara’s sister property, the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, also received a regulatory complaint concerning health and safety non-compliance. The Nevada Gaming Control Board filed a three-count formal complaint against the facility for mainly failing to enforce mandated mask-wearing requirements.

Sahara’s “misunderstanding”

The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) has issued its first COVID-19-related complaint against a Vegas Strip casino property: the Sahara Las Vegas.

casino failed to comply with social distancing measures

The state agency alleges that the hotel and casino failed to comply with social distancing measures as set out by Governor Steve Sisolak’s emergency health and safety plan. The two-count complaint, filed with the Nevada Gaming Commission, relates to a board observation from June 16.

The Sahara’s vice president of government affairs said there was a “misunderstanding” about occupancy limits and gatherings. According to the complaint filing, the assistant casino manager acknowledged the instances of non-compliance and rectified the situation.

Rules flouted at gaming tables, machines

One count describes events which violated the gaming board’s health and safety policies regarding social distancing rules around gaming machines and tables.

A board agent reportedly observed four Sahara patrons standing next to a craps table while only three were playing. Similarly, at a blackjack table, a non-participating casino patron stood between two seated players. In another situation, an agent reported seeing five people standing around a slot machine being played by a sixth person.

Lunch over the limit

The other count related in the Control Board’s complaint concerns a luncheon that was hosted at the Sahara’s Congo Conference Rooms on July 23. The event saw an estimated 135 attendees, which violated Gov. Sisolak’s order limiting gatherings to 50 people.

the fifth formal complaint issued by the board

The complaint against the Sahara comes after the NGCB announced 156 active investigations following 10,135 inspections regarding non-compliance with health and safety policies. It marks the fifth formal complaint issued by the board to date in this regard.

Casino issues statement in response

A Sahara spokesperson said “nothing is more important” than the health and safety of its employees and patrons. Prior to reopening its doors June 4, the Las Vegas casino undertook “stringent health and sanitation protocols.”

The casino’s statement added: “We take our duties as a licensed gaming operator very seriously and work continuously to adhere to the health and safety standards set forth by the Governor and Nevada Gaming Commission.”

The Sahara Las Vegas was undergoing renovations before the coronavirus lockdown, which paused all gaming activities. However, the casino property has seen encouraging foot traffic since it resumed business activity.