Nevada Changes Stance On Face Mask Rules In Casinos

Written By Marc Meltzer on June 19, 2020 - Last Updated on July 9, 2020

Guests who are playing table games at Nevada casinos without a Plexiglas barrier must now wear a face mask. Furthermore, those watching a guest play must also wear a mask.

This amendment is among the updated health and safety requirements by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGBC) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, guests are not required to wear a face mask if they play table games that have installed an added layer of protection.

When Nevada casinos reopened on June 4, they didn’t have to require guests to wear a face covering. In fact, guests and visitors could still roam the casino floors without a mask.

However, if they chose to gamble in the casino, they would have to put on a layer of protection to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Why the change?

The change comes as Nevada is experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases.

As part of phase two of Nevada’s reopening, Gov. Steve Sisolak  allowed casinos to reopen. This phase is continuous throughout the state and there’s been an adjustment for casinos.

Sandra Morgan, of the NGCB, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday:

“In the first week (after the June 4 reopening of casinos), we wanted to take an approach of communicating and encouraging compliance and talk to licensees about what our expectations were. But, in the second week, it became abundantly clear based on our agents’ observations that patrons’ usage of masks was significantly declining.”

There seems to be a divide on mask-wearing across the US, based on age, politics and more.

According to research from the Brookings Institution, fatalities increase with coronavirus the older a person is. Younger guests frequently choose not to wear face coverings as they’re less concerned about contracting COVID-19.

By now, most people have seen the video from the Cosmopolitan that shows not a single guest wearing a face covering on opening weekend. Between the video and in-person observations, the NGCB decided to update safety guidelines to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

NGCB’s new measures aim to protect Nevada casino guests and the dealers.

Wearing a face covering not only protects the person wearing it, but it protects anyone within close range. In theory, the Plexiglas dividers or a face mask will help reduce the spread of the virus.

New health and safety requirements

The gaming control board’s health and safety requirements are a step between making face coverings mandatory for all casino guests and the previous rules.

The new requirements are as follows:

  1. Plans must provide face masks or cloth face coverings for patrons and guests upon request. Upon entering the gaming establishment, licensees must offer all patrons and guests a face covering or have dedicated signage throughout the establishment that notify patrons that face coverings are available.
  2. Licensees must require patrons to wear face coverings at table and card games if there is no barrier, partition or shield between the dealer and each player. This requirement applies to table and card game players, spectators, and any other person within 6 feet of any table or card game.

The new rules state that casinos must offer masks to all guests as they walk into the property. Casinos must also be able to deliver a face mask to any guest requesting one.

Gov. Sisolak is already considering more drastic face-covering policies.

No mask necessary

Not everyone visiting a Nevada casino wants to wear a mask.

A handful of Las Vegas casinos have protective Plexiglas installations where players can gamble without wearing a face covering:

  • Bellagio
  • Cosmopolitan
  • El Cortez
  • Excalibur
  • MGM Grand
  • New York-New York
  • Wynn and Encore

However, gambling at other Las Vegas casinos will require a face mask.

The Bellagio poker room is also reopening and is not requiring players to wear a face mask. These policies are the same for regular table game players.

The poker room at Caesars Palace is open, though it requires all players to wear a face covering. Speaking of Caesars Palace, they are now giving away free play to slot machine players wearing a mask.

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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.

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