Coronavirus Causes Nevada To Shut Down All Casinos

Written By Marc Meltzer on March 18, 2020
Welcome to Las Vegas sign

Saint Patricks Day 2020 will be remembered as the night that all of the casinos in Nevada went dark. On Tuesday, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak shut down all non-essential businesses in Nevada for 30 days. This is in an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19 (AKA coronavirus).

Sisolak started his press conference saying:

“I have spoken with Nevada’s top medical experts to get their assessment of our current situation and most responsible next steps,” Gov. Sisolak said. “They have advised that the most effective course of action is to direct all Nevadans to stay home and for all nonessential businesses to close to the public for 30 days.”

Casinos And Non-Essential Businesses Must Close

Sisolak ordered a shutdown of nonessential businesses, including casinos and most retail stores for 30 days. At midnight, all table games were closed and gaming machines in Nevada were turned off. This order comes following various Las Vegas casinos voluntarily shutting down earlier this week.

All isn’t lost for gamblers. A spokesperson for Nevada Gaming Control told ESPN’s David Purdum that mobile gaming will remain operational during the temporary casino shutdown. Despite the allowance, some sportsbook operators in the state have decided to close anyway. As of this morning, the Circa Sports and William Hill apps are still taking wagers. Additionally, will remain open for poker players in Nevada.

This shutdown of Nevada businesses is a drastic step that many states around the country have taken to slow the spread of coronavirus. California, Connecticut, Florida, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Washington have ordered similar closures.

In addition to casinos, the following non-essential businesses must also close down for 30 days:

  • Restaurants (dining room must close but may still offer takeout, drive-thru, and/or delivery.)
  • Bars, Pubs, Taverns, Wineries
  • Coffee shops
  • Gyms
  • Movie theaters
  • Malls

Unlike casinos, these businesses have until noon on Wednesday to close.

Essential Businesses Remain Open

Even though most businesses that promote social interaction are closing, there are still businesses that Nevada residents need to survive. The following essential businesses will remain open during the 30-day shutdown in Nevada:

  • Supermarkets
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Drug and convenience stores
  • Police
  • Hospitals
  • Fire
  • Banks
  • Post offices
  • Airports

Unprecedented Casino Closures

The spread of coronavirus is unlike any event this nation has seen in years. The Governor didn’t mince words about how serious this moment in time is during his press conference. “As governor of the state of Nevada, it is my responsibility to protect the health and well-being of every person in the state,” Sisolak said. “And this is serious. If somebody doesn’t understand the seriousness of this, turn on the news and watch it for a little bit.”

Closing casinos in Nevada doesn’t happen often. The last time Las Vegas casinos closed was for John F. Kennedy’s funeral on Nov. 25, 1963. That was a one day occasion. The casinos in Nevada didn’t even shut their doors after the events on 9/11. People initially stayed away from traveling to Las Vegas but the casinos were open for business.

A handful of casino companies voluntarily closed before Governor Sisolak ordering a shutdown of all non-essential businesses. Earlier this week MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts closed their Las Vegas casinos. Other casinos like the Cosmopolitan and The Venetian announced they would also be closing prior to the Governor’s announcement.

Nevada will change forever with the shutdown. Las Vegas casinos may also see some changes. Eldorado Resorts has been in the process of buying Caesars Entertainment for almost a year. Part of this merger is to reduce expenses. The temporary shutdown of all Caesars casinos around the country could allow the company to implement new procedures.

Caesars is already automating the Caesars Rewards experience in casinos. Vital Vegas shares that the company could expand the use of self check-in kiosks when the casinos re-open.

These cost-saving efforts will save Caesars money over time as it reduces the employment of many casino staffers. MGM Resorts started a similar automation plan last year as part of the MGM 2020 initiative. All casino operators in Nevada will have at least 30 days to come up with plans on how to woo customers back after this pandemic passes.

Marc Meltzer Avatar
Written by
Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

View all posts by Marc Meltzer
Privacy Policy