After nearly two months of closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting quarantine, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has come out with minimum standards to allow for the reopening of casinos in the state. In some cases, the standards will be extreme in that it will not allow for the usual “fanfare” that goes with the casino experience. In other cases, it will be difficult for the games to turn a profit without massive changes.

Standards of Cleanliness Set

In the document obtained by Poker News Daily, the NGCB recounts the different Nevada statutes that designate what the casinos must do to be able to reopen. Citing the legal jurisdiction given to it under NRS 463.0129(1)(d), the actual statute that allows the NGCB to exercise its control over the casino industry in the Silver State, the NGCB said that they “remain resolute in ensuring that gaming operations in this State do not compromise the health and safety of Nevadans.” To do this, the NGCB lays out the some of the rules that casinos must meet before they can reopen in the state.

One of the first is that the individual casinos must submit a plan to the NGCB no less than one week before the casino intends to reopen for business. Many casinos are, at this moment, trying to get their casinos in shape, cleanliness wise, for such a reopen of their hotel and casino properties, so this isn’t out of the ordinary. The NGCB is vehement on the fact that they will not allow a casino to reopen without this plan in place.

The new regulations are quite extensive on the cleanliness of the casinos once they reopen. The employees are to be trained on new cleaning procedures for the property and for their own person and, if they are experiencing any symptoms (or see a customer or fellow worker exhibiting the symptoms) that are “associated with COVID-19,” that they are to report it to supervisors and/or stay home from work.

Tough Standards on Gaming

The NGCB has stated that the plans submitted by the casinos also need to ensure that they are putting social distancing measures in place on the gaming floor. For machines (video poker, slots, and others), the casinos are supposed to make sure that there is at minimum a “one machine” space between patrons of the casino. This means that, if a person is playing a particular machine, that the machines on each side of said player are unoccupied.

For table games like blackjack, roulette and others, the number of players involved in the game will be limited. The NGCB breaks down the standards for some games in this manner:

Craps tables: six players
Roulette tables: four players
Poker tables: four players
Blackjack tables: three players

Once again, the casino’s plan submitted to the NGCB will have a distinct plan as to ensuring the cleanliness of the equipment. Such things as the table games themselves, rails, chairs, dice, card shoes, shufflers, roulette wheels, Pai Gow tiles, pit podiums, blackjack discard holders, and toke boxes will have to have a new standard of cleanliness, otherwise the casinos will not be allowed to open. Much like the slots, the table games will not allow for large groups to gather at a table.

In addition to these new rules, the casino itself will be limited upon reopening. The casinos will be limited to half their occupancy limit. Those casinos will have to monitor this situation to ensure that they aren’t violating the regulation.

What Does it All Mean?

The new regulations from the NGCB are very thorough and spell out the exact rules that the Nevada casinos will have to meet before they can open their doors. What will be interesting to see is what happens in the table games. In many situations, the casinos aren’t going to make a great deal of money if they offer low stakes options for some of their casino games. For example, a casino isn’t going to offer $5 blackjack because they won’t be able to make any money. The new minimums may be at least double that ($10) or perhaps even more.

Poker is perhaps hurt the worst on this situation. With only four players allowed per table (plus the new distancing between tables), the poker rooms aren’t going to be able to sustain themselves with such limited action. This also doesn’t even broach the issues of poker tournaments, which are greatly dependent on putting as many “butts in seats” as possible to build the prize pool.

The new regulations are in place to allow for a safe reopening of Nevada’s casino system, on which the state is greatly dependent. But the new regulations also may significantly hurt some of the very games in the casino that are key to their operations.

54 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    It means poker is over

  2. Sharon says:

    Estimate over 80% Poker players will Not play
    4 handed .
    Especially older players who normally walk away if
    Only 7 at a table .
    Tragic for Poker
    Need representation .

  3. Thom Vance says:

    Poker becomes heads up action, not recreational. The other games play the same, not sure they will be able to generate the needed overhead revenue.

    Is there a time frame being discussed for these initial requirements?

    I realize it’s in our best interest to start slow.

  4. Richard says:

    Poker games, which I play, will be negatively impacted greatly. How long are these restrictions to remain in place, and is there some way to comment/ protest them?

  5. Mark Gierth says:

    Morons came up with this.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Where is the beverage n Banquets and Restaurants in this opening

  7. Mike says:

    Let’s HOPE that this all works.

  8. Cindy Evans says:

    I think some of these rules are extreme. Adults should be able to choose if they want to gamble or not. If they think the table is too crowded, they can move on. The government should only be involved in making sure the games are not crooked. The Governor is ruining lives and businesses! I think he is doing this to force the State into approving a State Tax.

  9. Ronald E Krzak says:

    Solving the low limit issue is having a balanced approach.
    For example , MGM Resorts opening just New York New York & Bellagio.
    Bellagio will have majority higher limits & New York New York will have to have a combination.
    Lower end places like Fremont Street will have to have variety of limits as many don’t have massive
    Casinos & multiple amenities…

    This Covid19 situation calls for the entire casino competition to actually work together as to not step on one another’s foot initially.
    It’s important that Somehow Las Vegas offers balance & some variety for different tier visitors.

  10. Steve O says:

    What about smoking? There’s really the biggest health risk by far.

  11. Bill says:

    It’s a start

  12. Ron says:

    That’s all well & good, but what about the people walking in? Will the customers be scanned for their temperature upon entrance? If not, we are just setting the casino employees (especially dealers) up to catching the virus, sooner or later.

  13. John Maultsby says:

    When excitement is generated around a table game it draws big crowds to watch the action. I don’t know how the casino is going to be able to control this.

  14. Adrian says:

    Because those guys think with their butts, not with their heads! Cose they have no brains in their heads! Their heads are like corks! They use them just to plug their necks from the rain water! Fuck those mothersfuckers!

  15. Sally verdi says:

    Poker should be not less then 6 people …put up plastic shields in between each player and distribute gloves so no one touches the chips or cards except the dealer…..

  16. Anonymous says:

    Such typical absolute governmental overreach of businesses! This WILL NOT BE SUSTAINABLE! A revolution against the Prima Donnas leaders in government (State and Federal) is just around the corner!

  17. Sandy says:

    This says nothing about the patrons having to wear masks or sanitizing.some of these patrons might have fevers or are carrying the virus and not know about it…it is not time yet to open casinos…you might be taking the correct precautions but its the patrons you have to worry about.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Good plan. It’s a highly infectious disease. Great job putting it together so fast.

  19. Joseph says:

    Either way in somehow or some way the virus will infect us all. An that’s how it goes business an money come before health an well being.

  20. BT says:

    What about Bingo?

  21. lou says:

    Poker will be phased out of the casino. Floor space is much too valuable and will be used for lucrative options such as slot machines. Poker is dead for the recreational player, hopefully it will make a comeback when a vaccine is developed.

  22. Rob E. says:

    This doesn’t say anything about smaller neighborhood bars with 10-15 slot machines at the bar. Having only every other machine filled in the smaller places will make it exceptionally tough. I sure hope the Government/gaming board has a plan in place to subsidize incomes for gaming bars and casinos. A plan needs to work both ways.

  23. Cathy says:

    What about employees that are high risk? What about the hotel part? There will. So much contamination in the rooms

  24. Shooter says:

    Casinos don’t care about tanks games. They want wall to wall machines. They will save tons on dealers and other employees. That’s the future of casinos. Bj, craps, roulette and all other table games will be on video machines. They had been heading that way already . Casinos will make more money this way as they have less to pay humans. The CEO’s of all gaming establishments are loving it. Machines everywhere!

  25. sean says:

    This is crazy. Many lives will be ruined by this distancing. You don’t need a vaccine, you need to let your own immune system beat this virus which it will given the chance to. This will reduce gaming staff in casinos by 50%. When that happens housing prices will fall by 50% and everything else will follow. We need to open everything up, and quarantine the old and vulnerable and let the healthy go back normal.

  26. Bo says:

    No. Let’s quarantine the healthy and let the old go back to normal!

  27. Darren says:

    Live Poker is dead for the foreseeable future. It will remain online. First, we all know that the vast majority of players hate shorthanded games. Six at table is bad enough, but 4? Four is where a table breaks, not where a table begins. Poker is not a major money maker for the casino anyway, and if the players drop that low, the rake will NEVER justify the used floor space. It’s about $$$/sq ft. I think you will see the floor space dedicated to table games get drastically reduced, and the machines that would now have to be left vacant (must now have an empty machine to each side of a slot player), those will be moved to the space now unoccupied by the table games, so that those games do not remain dormant. Poker rooms get eliminated (at least until the NGCB removes all restrictions – if ever – but by then it may to too late).

    With no pool, no buffet, 1/2 the total players (At best), added costs associated with monitoring and cleaning, no clubs. And no more conventions in at least the short term? Yea, casino’s as we know them are toast.

  28. Anonymous says:

    The virus doesn’t just attack the elderly. Healthy people have been getting the virus too and children.

  29. Cris says:

    Let adults decide to stay home if they are worried about getting infected and let the employees decide the same.

  30. Terri says:

    Absolutely ridiculous. No mention of smoking. Seems that’s much worse inside the casino and contains many more germs exposing everyone no matter how many people are seated at a blackjack table. Idiots making these decisions, for sure.

  31. Gambler in Quarantine says:

    Reality is they are trying to find a way to bring back the gaming industries because it is such a big part of Nevada. For players and workers alike, you decide if it’s worth it to go back to the casino. That goes for smokers and non-smokers too. It’s a decision you have to make. No one is forcing anyone. I love the casinos and miss the sound of the machines and all the lights and pizzazz that goes along with it but it’s my choice to wait another month after they reopen. And I plan to smoke and gamble when I get there. If you don’t like it, go elsewhere or just stay home. If you don’t mind, have a seat (one machine away from me) and let’s have some fun! The choice is and always will be yours.

  32. Chris says:

    Make poker tables bigger? Big enough to seat at least 6 to 7 w spacing? Just a thought…and smoking should be gone! Nasty dirty and germ filled habit! Smoking in designated area only like at the airport or just have to go outside. Masks for all employees mandatory to protect them and at the bare min suggested for players.

  33. John says:

    How can a casino adhere to social distancing when 3 players are allowed on a BJ table, 4 on a poker game etc. ?? And in what way is the dealer or the players protected against getting infected by the virus? Touching chips would be the biggest liability

  34. janie turney says:

    Anything on Bingo rooms?

  35. anonymous says:

    how can a casino practice social distancing with 3 players on a bj table, much less that 6 feet from the dealer?????
    Touching chips that will be reissued could be a big problem, keeping Nevadans safe???

  36. Yo mom says:

    Where’s the stat about how many people get vaccinated and have the virus? We get all these shots and what does it do when there’s a new virus? Maybe everyone with corona virus has been vaccinated. Just a thought

  37. Crystal says:

    This won’t go over so well the casino is gonna need triple the security and they all already have a hard time keeping security and having enough of them as it was already. This is gonna turn into a big mess. I work soft count and we won’t be able to have 6 feet away from each other or the wall things won’t work for us. I pray that everything would work and everyone could start a life again but I think this is just setting it all up as where we will have more cases

  38. Travis G says:

    Shouldn’t be long before another state legalizes all gambling. Maybe the NGCB wants to shut down. They wont have much to do in the near future. I just hope the new gambling mecca of US is on west coast ?

  39. Gary says:

    Been going to casinos all my adult life-43years.Love it.
    I live in Texas, go to Shreveport to gamble. Seniors pack these casinos.
    I think this virus is going to practicality ruin the gambling experience until a vaccine is in place
    to make these casinos safe.
    Most seniors have medical conditions,
    like shooting craps for us older guest s by

  40. Anonymous says:

    Because smoking is allowed, I believe most casinos have enhanced A/C and ventilation systems in place. Doesn’t the accelerated movement of air pose a risk?

  41. Vicky says:

    I can’t see how anyone is going to ever even get a dime out of a machine already was playing at least one hundred or more to get back now that they have to makeup the half machines sitting off will cost two hundred dollars to get back NGCB just wanted to close all casino’s so they aren’t bothered with the job.I think most people are smart enough to know to stay safe that they don’t need to be treated like a two year old with the rules they are putting in place I play bingo 12 times a week so with these rules if fifty allowed in bingo hall now will be twenty-five so unless stand inline for two hours won’t get in and they won’t allow lines do to six feet rule so guess our bingo is not going to happen anymore get with it NGCB we are adults over 21 and no what to do to stay safe

  42. Bill says:

    W/there be a shield between the players?
    Personally, designate
    NO Smoking AreaS.
    I recall playing poker on an electronic card table.
    Therefore NO cards to touch.
    Anyone else ever play like this and their opinion(s)?______
    I would NoT mind so I do nOt touch any cards.
    Comments/opinions ??

  43. Ric says:

    The greedy casino owners lawyers, lobby freaks, still rule, why isn’t smoking now forever banned in all casinos, the #1 killer in all respiratory illnesses,…..unbelievable

    These new rules show how little common sense for gaming these people know….who will play poker at a 4 player max table when all new hands will have 50% of players in the blinds? Use a little brains, and install glass partitions between all seats and you can comfortably seat 6 or even 7 players….the rule they came up with is a disaster for the poker rooms

  44. Earl Burton says:

    Hey Bill,

    I remember when Excalibur (if my memory is correct) used the electronic tables. They were universally reviled. Nobody liked them…will that change? Probably not.

    Thanks for reading!

    EB

  45. Jim Foley says:

    I can’t sit next to my wife at vidio poker, even though we live together? Sorry, but that’s why we go, have fun and spend time together. Guess we won’t be going back for a while, even though we are locals.

  46. Degen says:

    Casinos only pay dealers below minimum wage. So with less people thier will be less tips and thier wont be any employees willing to work for such substandard pay.

  47. Dennis says:

    Let’s hope that when a vaccine is finally available, the poker rooms will return to normal. Will be hard, if not impossible, to get good action playing with 4 people. Maybe casinos & poker rooms in other states will have different rules. We should also start letting the casinos know to not replace or remove the poker rooms by either calling or emailing. Hopefully they will listen.

  48. Michael Ellis says:

    When I play at the Beau Rivage, they jam 10 players per table. Its always been uncomfortable and always thought they should make it 9 handed. I hate being kicked or bumped by another player. Poker will NEVER be back to normal until a vaccine is made and that won’t be until the end of the year.
    I plan on moving to Vegas for summer and play online.

  49. Chris says:

    It is my right to contract CoVid-19 at a poker table. Full tables (9) now! Dealers should have no rights against the casino owner / operator.

  50. Randy says:

    They should allow smokefree casinos to open earlier as they will naturally be safer.

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