Since Governor Steve Sisolak closed the entirety of the Nevada casino industry in mid-March, the streets of Las Vegas have gone dark. No massive LED board entertaining the patrons at the Fremont Street Experience. None of the glitz or glamor of the Las Vegas Strip or the fountains spewing in all their grandeur at the Bellagio. That is about to change, however, as Las Vegas will reopen by the end of this coming week, and the World Poker Tour will have some unfinished business to take care of (hopefully) soon after that.
Most Casinos Reopening June 4
After putting forth their reopening plans to both the Governor’s Office and the Nevada Gaming Control Board, a portion of the casinos in Las Vegas will begin reopening on June 4. Half of the 28 casinos on the Strip will be opening for business, including the following operations:
New York-New York
That means that such popular destinations as Aria, Mandalay Bay, the Mirage and Luxor have not decided at this point to reopen or they have not been cleared for reopening by either the Governor’s Office or the NGCB. In the popular Fremont Street area, ten of the eleven properties will be back in operation, including Binion’s, the Golden Nugget, and the Four Queens, among others.
Poker is something that many will be interested in, but that might be a tough find. The Venetian Poker Room has come out and said it will be in operation with the regulated four-handed tables and even offer four-handed Sit & Go’s for prospective players at $100 a pop. Joining The Venetian in offering poker will be South Point and The Orleans, both off-Strip properties. At this time, the home of the World Series of Poker, the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino, will not be ready to open for business.
World Poker Tour Waits with Three Final Tables
The continued closure of Luxor is something that is probably not a happy thing for the folks at the World Poker Tour. The WPT’s Season XVIII schedule was shut down by the COVID-19 outbreak back in March, putting on hold three final tables that were to have been played at the end of April – the Gardens Poker Championship from Bell Gardens, CA, the Borgata Winter Poker Open from Atlantic City, NJ, and the L. A. Poker Classic from Commerce Casino in California. Those events were to reach their conclusion by playing at the HyperX eSports Arena at the Luxor and, with the continued closure of that casino, the WPT is in a “stand by” mode to play out those events.
The WPT might want to get those events into action but, with the current restrictions on poker in Las Vegas, they would not be able to be played. Poker is limited to only four player tables, which does not exactly work with the WPT’s six-handed format. The problem is that they cannot go back to the casinos from whence they came to finish the event; those casinos are also shut down at this point.
The reopening of Las Vegas has been, for many, too long in coming. But what is not known is whether there will be an audience for the frivolity that Las Vegas has to offer. There are still bans on foreign travel to the States of America and even domestic airlines are seeing something along the lines of a 90% decline in air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. While people might be wanting to have some fun at the poker tables – and the WPT would definitely fall in that category – there may not be a market for it for some time in “The Meadows.”