Casinos ask for licensing pause

With casinos continuing to reopen across the United States, it appears that two North Las Vegas casinos may stay closed for another year. According to Eater Las Vegas, Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho, both Station Casinos properties, have no plans on reopening any time soon.

Eater’s evidence, despite no confirmation from Station Casinos yet, seems pretty sound. Both casinos asked the North Las Vegas City Council to “move their non-restricted gaming, non-restricted gaming liquor, and full liquor licenses to non-operational through June 4, 2021.”

The reason Station gave for the license change: “uncertain economic conditions in the state of Nevada.”

It seems fairly obvious that a casino that plans to offer gambling and serve alcohol would not want to make its licenses non-operational for a year if it was planning on doing business. Thus, the assumption that neither Texas Station nor Fiesta Rancho will reopen until at least early June 2021.

Two other properties owned by Station Casinos – Palms and Fiesta Henderson – “will remain temporarily closed,” according to a message on Station’s website. No further information has been provided.

Stricter safety measures imposed

Governor Steve Sisolak permitted Nevada casinos to reopen on June 4, about two and a half months after ordering them closed on March 17 to slow the spread of COVID-19. Many casinos reopened and several more have since then, though several still remain closed. Across the U.S., 80 percent of casinos are back in business.

At the outset of Nevada casinos’ reopening, only employees were required to wear face masks. There were minimum health and safety measures mandated for all casinos; hopefully they have all abided by them. And while guests were encouraged to wear masks, they were not required except in some instances by specific casinos. For instance, Caesars properties made gamblers wear masks at table games if plexiglass barriers were not installed.

It appeared that most casino patrons could not be bothered to wear protective face masks, as images and videos from the first week or reopenings showed.

With confirmed COVID-19 cases skyrocketing in Nevada and many other states, Caesars and MGM announced last Wednesday that all people entering their properties must wear face masks. That same day, Governor Sisolak issued a statewide order, requiring the wearing of masks in indoor public spaces (even if the property is privately owned) and outdoor spaces where social distancing is difficult.

Poker rooms slower to reopen

Most poker rooms have yet to reopen, as the game and venue just do not lend themselves well to social distancing and proper hygiene. The few poker rooms that did reopen petitioned the Nevada Gaming Control Board before the end of the first weekend to up the number of players permitted per table from four to five. Apparently, the four-handed limitation kept players away, but that extra seat made a massive difference.

A couple weekends ago, the Venetian’s poker room became the first to hold a multi-table tournament, hosting two that reached their caps of 80 entrants.

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