Nevada's gaming industry could reopen as soon as June 4, Gov. Steve Sisolak stated Friday. The Nevada Gaming Control Board will meet next week with health officials to determine which sanitation protocols are needed at casinos before reopening.
"The board is firmly aware of its statutory duty to protect the public health and welfare of the Silver State's citizenry while allowing the gaming industry to flourish through strict regulation," Sisolak said in a statement.
Additionally, the Gaming Control Board will meet Tuesday & will consider any action necessary with regard to reopening. Pending the evaluation of trends in our data and results of this meeting, I have set a target date of June 4, 2020, for reopening Nevada’s gaming industry.— Governor Sisolak (@GovSisolak) May 22, 2020
Casinos are expected to submit reopening safety plans to the board next week. When gamblers step inside the casino floor, they will be immediately greeted by staff and screened at temperature check stations. All employees and patrons will be required to wear masks. Table games will have reduced capacity, for instance, there could be three players per blackjack table instead of six. Also, one could expect sanitation stations across the entire property -- a move to limit the spread of the virus.
While playing games, dice will be disinfected between shooters, chips, and cards will be routinely swapped out. Resort guests at some casinos will go all-digital via their smartphone -- this means phones will be used for touchless check-in, used as room keys, and even used to read menus at the facility's restaurant(s).
"You're going to see a lot of social distancing," Sean McBurney, GM at Caesars Palace, told AP News. "If there's crowding, it's every employee's responsibility to ensure there's social distancing."
Wynn Resorts properties and The Venetian will deploy thermal cameras on gaming floors to intercept people with feverish conditions.
Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and president of MGM Resorts International, said his company is losing $10 million per day during the shutdown. He said only 2 of its 10 Strip properties would open first: Bellagio and New York-New York.
Hornbuckle said because of social distancing and new rules, and there will be a lot "fewer people, by control and by design" in his casinos.
Caesars Entertainment is expected to reopen Caesars Palace and the Flamingo Las Vegas, then Harrah's Las Vegas and the casino floor at The LINQ hotel-casino.
Robert Lang, executive director of the Brookings Mountain West, a think tank at the University of Nevada, said large crowds are not expected to return quickly to the Vegas strip.
Lang is correct, just like the airline industry - which Boeing CEO's Dave Calhoun recently warned air travel growth might not return to pre-corona levels for several years - the same should be noted for Vegas.
With Vegas imploded, and 1 in 3 jobs in the state tied to the resort industry, Nevada's unemployment rate has jumped to almost 30% in nine weeks, the worst-ever unemployment rate in state history and the highest in the country.
Getting back to normal, or merely revisiting 2019 growth rates, for the Vegas casino industry and or the economy as a whole, will take several years or more.