Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak recently made the announcement that many residents and potential tourists had been waiting for. After being closed for more than two months, Las Vegas casinos will be reopening their doors on June 4th.

Gaming Control Board Meeting

On May 26th, Nevada’s Gaming Control Board held a workshop of state and local officials to determine what safeguards are needed for a successful reopening. Based on this meeting, the board planned to issue an “industry notice” to casinos on the following day. This notice is expected to cover everything from employee training to table game restrictions.

Casinos have already submitted individual plans for reopening, but these remain confidential under state law. The Culinary Union asked that these plans be made available, but their request was denied.

Suggestions for Medical Safeguards

Two of the most important speakers at the workshop were Dr. Fermin Leguen and Mason Van Houweling. First up was Dr. Leguen, acting chief health officer of the Southern Nevada Health District. During his presentation, he made the following recommendations:

  • Upon arrival at a casino or hotel, all guests will receive a card outlining basic steps for coronavirus prevention.
  • Guests should wear face masks.
  • Upon arrival, guests should have their temperature checked.
  • Each day, guests should complete a coronavirus screening report.
  • Workers should wear face masks and get their temperature checked daily. They should also complete the screening report.
  • A worker with symptoms should go home and not return until they’ve received medical clearance.
  • During the first month of operation, casino workers should be tested twice. Afterwards, they should be tested monthly.

Next up was Mason Van Houweling, chairman-elect of the Nevada Hospital Association. He proposed the following screening procedure:

  • If a guest arrives with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or more, they would receive a second check in 15 minutes (to help rule out the Nevada heat).
  • If the guest still has a fever, they would be checked by a medical technician.
  • The guest might then be directed to a coronavirus testing facility or, in extreme cases, a hospital emergency room. If the test comes back negative, the guest can have their results sent to the hotel or casino in order to gain admittance.

State Testing Goals

At the end of April, the state was seeing a 12.2% rate for positive tests. As of this week, that percentage has dropped to 6.9%.

So far, over 130,000 tests have been performed in Nevada, but the goal is to test 2% of the population each month. At the end of a year, that would result in 24% of residents being tested.

Combine this with enhanced safety procedures, and it’s felt that Nevada is slowly moving down the path for a successful and profitable recovery.

Las Vegas Strip at night

Great Deals on Hotel Rooms

During the initial phase of the reopening, it’s estimated that the major casinos will have 40.8% of their rooms available. Despite the decrease in lodgings, it’s a great time to save some money.

In 2019, the average per-night cost for a room on the Vegas Strip was $169.45. Now, take a look at some of the announced prices for rooms from June 8th to 10th:

  • Bally’s – $35
  • The LINQ – $35
  • MGM Grand – $53
  • Paris – $55
  • New York New York – $69
  • The Venetian – $143
  • Bellagio – $159

A Boost to the Economy

The reopening couldn’t come at a better time, as Nevada has been ravaged economically by the coronavirus. Each day the casinos are closed, the state misses out on an estimated $2 million in fees and taxes.

In February, their unemployment rate was at an all-time low of 3.6%. Just a few months later, it had jumped to the highest in the United States at 28.2%. By way of comparison, the national unemployment rate was 25% during the Great Depression.

At the moment, around 206,000 casino and hotel employees are out of work. However, that’s all about to change on June 4th.

Additional Reading

If you’d like to know more about how COVID-19 has impacted the gaming industry, please read these articles: