The Nevada Gaming Control Board has outlined safety protocols for casinos to reopen next week, with a warning: casinos found in violation of the reopening protocols face citations and fines.
The Gaming Board has issued a list of rules which must be followed by any casino planning to reopen in early June. In addition to these protocols, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has also decreed that casinos must prepare detailed plans for reopening and submit them to the Board.
One of the rules in the post-corona casino world is regarding gaming floor capacity. Casinos must now cut the number of patrons allowed on the gaming floors by 50% as a social distancing measure. Also, casinos are required to enforce a face mask rule for all staff and guests, and provide masks for any patrons lacking them.
Many casinos have added their own safety protocols in an effort to provide a safer gaming space. Some casinos have installed plexiglass shields between seats at gaming tables, and many casinos have purchased chip sanitizers.
As part of the 50% crowd reduction rule, most casinos are shutting down every other slot machine in the casino as a means of social distancing. Also, all buffets will remain closed for safety reasons.
Legal experts have discussed the scope of the new gaming regulations, and they suggest that the Gaming Commission has the power to enforce the new safety regulations and impose disciplinary action if they are breached.
So far no concrete rules exist as to the form these actions take, but lawyers speculate that the Commission could levy fines of up to $100,000 per violation, or even suspend gaming licenses.
The details of the punitive actions remain unclear, but the new regulations have many moving parts. Will the Commission employ agents to check casinos for violations? And if any are found, what is the immediate response?
Some lawyers suggest that there may be verbal warnings or formal complaints, followed by written warnings, and fines for serious violations. Richard McGowan, a finance professor at Boston College, offered his advice regarding fines. He thinks fines might help in keeping casinos in line, but ultimately, customer safety is in their own interest.
“Clearly, the casinos have a vested interest in making sure that players feel safe,” McGowan said. “If they do not, they will not return.”
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