Nevada casinos are going to have to start treating players impaired by drugs the same way they do those intoxicated by alcohol.
That means casinos who allow players visibly impaired by drugs to continue to gamble or serve them complimentary alcoholic beverages, could face heavy fines.
The changes come after the five-member Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC) officially amended its policy and regulations regarding intoxicated players earlier this month. Now, casinos will be subject to the same disciplinary standards for allowing players impaired by drugs to gamble as they are for allowing players intoxicated by alcohol to do the same.
A changing society
Commission Chairman Tony Alamo told the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper societal changes made the amendment necessary:
“We always want to protect a patron, and we always thought about intoxication being from alcohol. Now people can become incapacitated from drugs and alcohol. So you see we have to change even subtle things like that because of changes in society.”
Of course, the state recently legalized recreational marijuana sales, partly spurring on the policy changes. However, the changes address more than just impairment by marijuana, but both legal and illegal drugs as well.
Legal recreational marijuana sales began in Nevada on July 1, 2017. Gaming regulators have been debating how to deal with the local marijuana business and its customers ever since.
No opposition to intoxicated player policy changes
The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) held a public hearing on the impairment issue on April 4. No one spoke up in opposition to the changes or raised any concerns.
Regulators in the state have only taken disciplinary actions against casinos for the mishandling of patrons intoxicated by alcohol a handful of times. The last one was in 2016 when the commission levied a $25,000 fine on Rampart Casino at the Resort at Summerlin.
Apparently, a third party at the casino filed a complaint to the board. This after an intoxicated person was allegedly allowed to continue gambling there. State regulators investigated and imposed the $25,000 fine.
Additionally, casino and resort staff at Rampart were forced to undergo training on responsible gaming awareness and alcohol management.
The amendments may also force casinos to provide additional training for floor staff to help them better identify drug impairment.
Not just alcohol, but other drugs
According to Alamo, the new regulations will help prevent impaired people, with diminished decision-making capacity, from gambling:
“We’re concerned that we don’t want anyone to participate in gaming if they are not completely within their faculties. That could be incapacitation or intoxication that is caused by, not just alcohol, but other drugs.”