The gambling industry in Nevada is facing more issues with a recent announcement by Governor Steve Sisolak cutting casino capacity from 50% to 25%. On Sunday, Sisolak released the news, with the restrictions beginning at 12:01 am on Tuesday. The industry has taken major steps to protect employees and guests, and the decrease in capacity is sure to be another big blow for operators.
Restaurants are also impacted by the new restrictions. Casino dining facilities, as well as restaurants across the state, must adhere to new restrictions. Walk-ins are not allowed. Patrons must make a reservation in order to be served. Only four people are allowed per table at dining establishments as well.
Trying to Recover
Nevada casinos were shut down in mid-March due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. As casinos began reopening at 50% capacity, operators did all they could to recover, while not being allowed to offer entertainment or conferences. Now with new occupancy limits, the limitations are expected to void any progress casinos have made on the path to recovery.
With gatherings limited to 50 people or less, the convention industry is shut down again. Previously, there was a larger 250 cap in place. The Strategy Organization consulting group founding partner, Josh Swissman, said that because of the limit, shows that recently reopened on the Strip could be canceled yet again.
According to Swissman, the new capacity limit won’t hurt the casinos mid-week. However, it will have a huge impact on the weekend totals. The weekends are when the venues really make money. Governor Sisolak reportedly spoke with most gaming operators in Nevada before making the announcement. Sisolak says the Nevada Gaming Control Board is behind the new restriction and will enforce the requirements.
Slowing the Spread of COVID-19
Casinos that do not follow the restrictions will face the consequences. The governor has made these changes in the hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19, a virus that is now popping up again in the state in large numbers.
Brin Gibson, the new Control Board Chairman, said the Board will be enforcing new gaming floor occupancy restrictions. Gibson pointed out that the more successful the state is in mitigating the spread of the virus over the next few weeks, the more likely the state will see a complete return to occupancy percentages in the future.
MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts have all announced they will be compliant to the new regulations. MGM will be affected by the change as the company recently brought back seven shows. The operator is working with partners to figure out a way forward.
For Caesars, the company has decided to allow its bars and restaurants to provide to-go options. Guests of resorts can order pick and deliver at the casino’s hotels.
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