Las Vegas Casinos Face Challenging Reopening Amid Dueling National Crises

Las Vegas kicked off its reopening efforts this week, but turnout has so far been relatively sparse amid continuing Coronavirus concerns and nationwide political unrest. 

The Nevada gambling hub expected to begin its reopening efforts after a hiatus exceeding two months due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25 sparked protests across the U.S., which continue even now, including on the Las Vegas Strip.

This past weekend, police shot rubber bullets into throngs of protesters and used tear gas to disperse the gatherings on the strip.

Between continued concerns about the spread of Coronavirus and nationwide unrest following George Floyd’s murder, Las Vegas so far has not gotten the reopening the city was hoping for.

Casino Safety Measures

For the foreseeable future, Las Vegas properties are enacting safety measures to prevent the possible spread of Covid-19 as they reopen gaming floors. According to Fox Business, common safety procedures include disinfected dice, hand sanitizer and face masks readily accessible for gamblers, limited seating, and temperature checks at some casinos. 

Many properties have constructed plexiglass shields at gaming tables to protect customers and employees as well. 

It’s likely that the casinos will look different far into the future. Many casinos limit seating to every other slot machine. Some will only allow table game enthusiasts to sit in every other seat at the table. 

Las Vegas Reopenings

The Bellagio fountains have resumed their shows, and gamblers are making their way back to Las Vegas. However, some outlets report that foot traffic is light given the ongoing protests. 

Still, other casinos struggle to enforce social distancing measures as gamblers flood back to their favorite Las Vegas properties. 

Reopenings Continue Across the US

As stay-at-home orders are lifted and cities move into their cautious reopening phases, casinos are beginning to reopen in various jurisdictions.

Caesars Entertainment has updated its website to list all of its properties that have reopened, including Caesars Palace and Flamingo Las Vegas. 

Caesars and MGM Resorts, among others, have comprehensive health and safety guides on their respective websites to keep visitors informed about reopenings and what casino patrons can expect when they return to the casino scene. 

Just a few states over, Colorado is showing strong signs that gamblers are ready for casinos to reopen. In a ColoradoSharp.com survey last month, 75% of respondents said they would return to Colorado’s casinos “as soon as they’re open.”

But that’s not without a healthy dose of caution. Gamblers in the state intend to take safety measures when they return to casinos. 50% said it was “very important” that casinos implement safety procedures such as requiring staff to wear masks and ensuring social distancing at tables/slot banks. 25% said those measures were “somewhat important.” Most bettors will take their health into their own hands, too. 75% said they would wear masks when they return to casino gaming. 

Colorado continues to showcase gambling enthusiasts’ readiness for full-fledged betting to return. During its first month–smack dab in the middle of casino closures across the country–Colorado sports betting drew in gross, unaudited revenue in excess of $25 million.

About the Author

Cole Rush

Cole Rush is a Chicago-based freelance writer in the gambling, media, and entertainment space. His work has been showcased in various gaming industry magazines and online columns. Prior to freelance writing, Cole spent seven years in communications at a gambling and lottery supplier. Cole writes for a number of online and print publications, including The Quill To Live, a book review site.