Tag: Reopening

From Gaming Tables To Masks, Recapping Las Vegas’ Big Reopening Weekend

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As the clock struck midnight on June 4, you could almost feel the electric anticipation of people getting ready to finally visit Las Vegas casinos again.

Casinos on the Vegas Strip opened at 8 a.m. and later on June 4. After a quick temperature check at many casinos, gamblers rushed in to place their first bets inside of a casino in nearly three months. While there were celebrations for the first guests at Caesars Palace and Bellagio, the scene was a bit more relaxed.

There was plenty of excitement to check into hotel rooms and hit table games and slot machines but visitors were cautious at first. That changed as the days continued and more guests arrived in Las Vegas from all over the world — and presumably, as the cocktails flowed.

Michael Trager, a visitor at Caesars Palace from London, told PlayUSA that he wanted to come to the reopening of Las Vegas because “I needed to see the reopening of Vegas. This is historic. In addition, in some ways, this pandemic has caused Vegas to change forever.”

The energy on the Las Vegas Strip

There are more than 100 casinos in the Las Vegas area. Only 30 of those casinos are located on the Vegas Strip and not all of those properties are currently open. Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International operate the majority of casinos on the Vegas Strip and are opening properties in phases.

MGM Resorts opened Bellagio, MGM Grand, and New York-New York with limited capacity. Excalibur will open later this week on June 11. MGM Resorts’ acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal he’d like to open Aria by July 4th weekend. He’d like to continue opening MGM properties every two to four weeks after.

Caesars Entertainment started with Flamingo and Caesars Palace. The company opened Harrah’s and The Linq promenade on June 5 due to overwhelming demand. Caesars expects to open The Linq casino, but not the hotel, next. The properties that are open now can offer more hotels and amenities for guests should customer demand continue to increase.

While the atmosphere on opening day at Bellagio was somewhat subdued, Caesars Palace and the Cosmopolitan were just getting started. Guests from California started to arrive on Friday afternoon and they were much more exuberant. Here’s a quick scene from the casino floor at Cosmopolitan on Friday night into Saturday morning.

To mask or not to mask

MGM Resorts and Wynn Las Vegas are offering complimentary face masks for anyone entering their properties. However, most casinos in Las Vegas are not offering free masks for all guests. Casino employees are required to wear face coverings at all times. Casino operators recommend guests wear a face mask but do not require it.

The video above captures a young crowd almost exclusively not wearing face coverings. This wasn’t the case all day. When the sun was still up on the first days of Las Vegas reopening there were noticeably more guests on and off the Vegas Strip wearing masks.

There was one thing in common with the majority of the guests wearing a face covering: the guests wearing masks tended to be older and more susceptible to catching COVID-19. Dru Chai, a visitor from California staying at New York-New York told PlayUSA that he “felt safe after visiting all three MGM Resorts properties that re-opened on June 4, although my experience was different at Bellagio where there were significantly more people compared to MGM Grand and New York-New York.”

Safety at Las Vegas casinos

The Nevada Gaming Control Board gave casinos a detailed list of health and safety policy requirements for reopening. Casino operators aren’t required to share their health and safety plans although many decided to do so before reopening.

The first thing some guests will notice happens right at the doors to enter a casino. Some casinos in Las Vegas — not all — are taking the temperature of guests upon entry. Checking temperatures is a way to see if a guest might have some symptoms of COVID-19. The process takes a couple of seconds but as casinos become busier, there could be a short wait.

The starkest change guests will see are dealers, and all casino employees, wearing face coverings. Sitting down at the tables and machines is also a different experience. There’s more space for social distancing and it’s noticeable with only three seats at blackjack and similar table games.

Craps is limited to six players while roulette tables only have space for four players. Slot machines have either been rearranged to create more space or there are chairs missing from games that might also be turned off.

Social distancing while gambling seems to be off to a good start at the larger casinos that have more room and open tables. Smaller casinos off the Vegas Strip might have some problems with onlookers. The limited space at the table might make gamblers hover while waiting to hop onto a hot craps game.

Social distancing measures could change in the future. For the time being, gamblers didn’t seem to mind having extra elbow room. Gamblers also didn’t mind playing behind plexiglass barriers at the few casinos that have the extra protective measure.

Chai also told PlayUSA “I was impressed that there were hand washing stations, including free masks, gloves, and sanitizing wipes readily available throughout the casino floor. There was an increased level of security, especially at highly trafficked points of entry.”

Even though there are significant safety precautions today, he wonders how long it will last, saying “it will be interesting to see how social distancing will be regulated when crowds significantly increase.”

Las Vegas is reopening slowly

Social distancing on the casino floor is an attempt to keep gaming spaces capped at 50% of capacity. This is mostly an attempt to keep the spread of coronavirus to a minimum. It also affords casino operators the ability to ease into restart their businesses slowly

Casino restaurants also have a 50% capacity limit. Some eateries remain closed while others have limited hours. This should change in the future but the limits are allowing the casino operators to re-learn how to walk before they run on all cylinders again.

Today’s Las Vegas does not offer the same experience as the beginning of March. In addition to limited bars and restaurants, most of the entertainment options that visitors love in Las Vegas have not returned yet.

Nevada venues can only have gatherings of 50 or fewer people right now. Large shows and residencies might return later this year or next year depending on the venue. Nightclubs aren’t open yet either. Pools are open for guests but don’t expect to see dayclubs and pool parties return anytime soon.

While large shows aren’t open, small lounges like Petrossian at Bellagio still offer their signature piano player to entertain its guests.

Is it time to visit Las Vegas again?

Las Vegas casinos are taking reopening very seriously. The thorough health and safety plans are an indication of the measures they’re going through to keep guests safe. It takes two to tango and guests have to do their part to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Many, but not all, casino guests are choosing to go without a face covering since there isn’t a mandate to wear one. The casinos are cleaning surfaces often but that doesn’t mean every surface is germ-free 24-7. While there are sanitizing stations, guests have to use them to do their part.

Anecdotally, those who wear masks are also washing hands often and using sanitizer often. Those not wearing masks might not be washing as frequently.

Wearing masks and cleanliness are personal matters for everyone. The casinos are doing their part and many of the best restaurants are open, albeit with limited menus. Almost every casino employee we’ve come across in the past few days has been happy to be at work and looking to welcome guests back to Las Vegas.

In a strange way, closing down casinos might have led to a way to improve the experience. The great customer service that Las Vegas is famous for is firing on all cylinders and is as good as it has been in years. Casino operators have streamlined and automated many hotel processes so guests can get what they want quicker.

This may not be the same Las Vegas as a year ago but it’s on the way back to being better than ever. It’s just going to take some time to get there.



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From Gaming Tables To Masks, Recapping Las Vegas’ Big Reopening Weekend

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As the clock struck midnight on June 4, you could almost feel the electric anticipation of people getting ready to finally visit Las Vegas casinos again.

Casinos on the Vegas Strip opened at 8 a.m. and later on June 4. After a quick temperature check at many casinos, gamblers rushed in to place their first bets inside of a casino in nearly three months. While there were celebrations for the first guests at Caesars Palace and Bellagio, the scene was a bit more relaxed.

There was plenty of excitement to check into hotel rooms and hit table games and slot machines but visitors were cautious at first. That changed as the days continued and more guests arrived in Las Vegas from all over the world — and presumably, as the cocktails flowed.

Michael Trager, a visitor at Caesars Palace from London, told PlayUSA that he wanted to come to the reopening of Las Vegas because “I needed to see the reopening of Vegas. This is historic. In addition, in some ways, this pandemic has caused Vegas to change forever.”

The energy on the Las Vegas Strip

There are more than 100 casinos in the Las Vegas area. Only 30 of those casinos are located on the Vegas Strip and not all of those properties are currently open. Caesars Entertainment and MGM Resorts International operate the majority of casinos on the Vegas Strip and are opening properties in phases.

MGM Resorts opened Bellagio, MGM Grand, and New York-New York with limited capacity. Excalibur will open later this week on June 11. MGM Resorts’ acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal he’d like to open Aria by July 4th weekend. He’d like to continue opening MGM properties every two to four weeks after.

Caesars Entertainment started with Flamingo and Caesars Palace. The company opened Harrah’s and The Linq promenade on June 5 due to overwhelming demand. Caesars expects to open The Linq casino, but not the hotel, next. The properties that are open now can offer more hotels and amenities for guests should customer demand continue to increase.

While the atmosphere on opening day at Bellagio was somewhat subdued, Caesars Palace and the Cosmopolitan were just getting started. Guests from California started to arrive on Friday afternoon and they were much more exuberant. Here’s a quick scene from the casino floor at Cosmopolitan on Friday night into Saturday morning.

To mask or not to mask

MGM Resorts and Wynn Las Vegas are offering complimentary face masks for anyone entering their properties. However, most casinos in Las Vegas are not offering free masks for all guests. Casino employees are required to wear face coverings at all times. Casino operators recommend guests wear a face mask but do not require it.

The video above captures a young crowd almost exclusively not wearing face coverings. This wasn’t the case all day. When the sun was still up on the first days of Las Vegas reopening there were noticeably more guests on and off the Vegas Strip wearing masks.

There was one thing in common with the majority of the guests wearing a face covering: the guests wearing masks tended to be older and more susceptible to catching COVID-19. Dru Chai, a visitor from California staying at New York-New York told PlayUSA that he “felt safe after visiting all three MGM Resorts properties that re-opened on June 4, although my experience was different at Bellagio where there were significantly more people compared to MGM Grand and New York-New York.”

Safety at Las Vegas casinos

The Nevada Gaming Control Board gave casinos a detailed list of health and safety policy requirements for reopening. Casino operators aren’t required to share their health and safety plans although many decided to do so before reopening.

The first thing some guests will notice happens right at the doors to enter a casino. Some casinos in Las Vegas — not all — are taking the temperature of guests upon entry. Checking temperatures is a way to see if a guest might have some symptoms of COVID-19. The process takes a couple of seconds but as casinos become busier, there could be a short wait.

The starkest change guests will see are dealers, and all casino employees, wearing face coverings. Sitting down at the tables and machines is also a different experience. There’s more space for social distancing and it’s noticeable with only three seats at blackjack and similar table games.

Craps is limited to six players while roulette tables only have space for four players. Slot machines have either been rearranged to create more space or there are chairs missing from games that might also be turned off.

Social distancing while gambling seems to be off to a good start at the larger casinos that have more room and open tables. Smaller casinos off the Vegas Strip might have some problems with onlookers. The limited space at the table might make gamblers hover while waiting to hop onto a hot craps game.

Social distancing measures could change in the future. For the time being, gamblers didn’t seem to mind having extra elbow room. Gamblers also didn’t mind playing behind plexiglass barriers at the few casinos that have the extra protective measure.

Chai also told PlayUSA “I was impressed that there were hand washing stations, including free masks, gloves, and sanitizing wipes readily available throughout the casino floor. There was an increased level of security, especially at highly trafficked points of entry.”

Even though there are significant safety precautions today, he wonders how long it will last, saying “it will be interesting to see how social distancing will be regulated when crowds significantly increase.”

Las Vegas is reopening slowly

Social distancing on the casino floor is an attempt to keep gaming spaces capped at 50% of capacity. This is mostly an attempt to keep the spread of coronavirus to a minimum. It also affords casino operators the ability to ease into restart their businesses slowly

Casino restaurants also have a 50% capacity limit. Some eateries remain closed while others have limited hours. This should change in the future but the limits are allowing the casino operators to re-learn how to walk before they run on all cylinders again.

Today’s Las Vegas does not offer the same experience as the beginning of March. In addition to limited bars and restaurants, most of the entertainment options that visitors love in Las Vegas have not returned yet.

Nevada venues can only have gatherings of 50 or fewer people right now. Large shows and residencies might return later this year or next year depending on the venue. Nightclubs aren’t open yet either. Pools are open for guests but don’t expect to see dayclubs and pool parties return anytime soon.

While large shows aren’t open, small lounges like Petrossian at Bellagio still offer their signature piano player to entertain its guests.

Is it time to visit Las Vegas again?

Las Vegas casinos are taking reopening very seriously. The thorough health and safety plans are an indication of the measures they’re going through to keep guests safe. It takes two to tango and guests have to do their part to help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Many, but not all, casino guests are choosing to go without a face covering since there isn’t a mandate to wear one. The casinos are cleaning surfaces often but that doesn’t mean every surface is germ-free 24-7. While there are sanitizing stations, guests have to use them to do their part.

Anecdotally, those who wear masks are also washing hands often and using sanitizer often. Those not wearing masks might not be washing as frequently.

Wearing masks and cleanliness are personal matters for everyone. The casinos are doing their part and many of the best restaurants are open, albeit with limited menus. Almost every casino employee we’ve come across in the past few days has been happy to be at work and looking to welcome guests back to Las Vegas.

In a strange way, closing down casinos might have led to a way to improve the experience. The great customer service that Las Vegas is famous for is firing on all cylinders and is as good as it has been in years. Casino operators have streamlined and automated many hotel processes so guests can get what they want quicker.

This may not be the same Las Vegas as a year ago but it’s on the way back to being better than ever. It’s just going to take some time to get there.



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Las Vegas Casinos Detail Reopening Dates And Safety Plans

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Las Vegas casinos and non-essential businesses were ordered to close in March to help slow the spread of coronavirus. We can’t say with 100% certainty when Las Vegas casinos will reopen but we have an idea of dates and how they’ll approach opening for guests once again.

The largest casino operators in Las Vegas recently shared plans on how the properties will reopen. Many of these casino operators have also released health and safety plans to provide specific details on how the companies plan to protect guests.

Las Vegas casino openings

Las Vegas casinos were ordered closed in the middle of March by Gov. Steve Sisolak to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The entire state is slowly allowing businesses to reopen. Phase 1 of the “Roadmap to Recovery For Nevada” is currently underway.

Reopening casinos is not part of the first phase of the reopening of Nevada. In fact, the Governor won’t give details on when casinos will reopen. The Nevada Gaming Control Board will announce the dates Las Vegas casinos can reopen. Once a date is announced it will be up to the casino operator to reopen.

Las Vegas casinos keep moving the goal post to take reservations again based on dates they’ve been told already. The casinos with open reservations are just trying to prepare for reopening. There’s nothing set in stone just yet. Every casino operator is taking a different approach to opening.

Here are the current estimated opening dates for some Las Vegas casinos:

  • Caesars Entertainment – May 22
  • Cosmopolitan – June 4
  • MGM Resorts – June 1
  • The Orleans (select Boyd Gaming properties) – June 1
  • Station Casinos – June 1
  • Treasure Island – May 22
  • The Venetian – June 1
  • Wynn Las Vegas – May 26

Remember, these dates are all subject to change.

Slowly reopening Las Vegas casinos

Las Vegas casinos won’t look the same when they reopen. Everything at the casinos — including the properties themselves — will open in phases. The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved that measure last week along with a slew of health and safety requirements for reopening casinos.

The gaming floor will only allow for up to 50% occupancy when casinos reopen. There will be fewer guests allowed in the most popular casinos than usual. This is just a maximum occupancy requirement. A casino can choose to allow fewer guests if they wish.

The NGCB recommends casinos either turn off or remove chairs from every other video poker and slot machine. Table games will also have a limited number of seats available for players.

  • Blackjack: Three (3) players per table
  • Craps: Six (6) players per table
  • Roulette: Four (4) players per table

All games played on a blackjack-sized table like 3 card poker should have the same number of seats available. Poker tables will only be allowed to have four players per table. It’s unclear which poker rooms will reopen alongside the rest of the casinos.

Las Vegas casinos will reopen a limited number of restaurants and bars at first and add more as demand warrants. Entertainment will also be slow to return to Las Vegas casinos. During MGM Resorts’ recent earnings call, the acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle mentioned that he can see smaller shows like Carrot Top returning before large events at T-Mobile Arena.

The gaming control board is also dictating a couple of popular amenities won’t return to Las Vegas casinos reopen. Dayclubs (and pool parties) along with nightclubs will remain closed as casinos open for business.

Phased property openings for Las Vegas casino companies

Just about every Las Vegas casino will reopen in phases. Larger companies will reopen with just a few properties. Each property will offer different amenities and services depending on demand.

The two big operators on the Vegas Strip will approach reopening similarly. Both MGM Resorts and Caesars will only open two casinos to start. Coincidentally or not, each company will open its most iconic property along with a less expensive property. Representatives for both companies also say they can open up to four properties quickly if there’s enough demand.

MGM Resorts will open Bellagio to compete with other luxury properties like Wynn and The Venetian. The company will also open New York-New York to more budget-conscious travelers.

Caesars will open Caesars Palace and a “value property” on the east side of the Vegas Strip. There are rumors that the “value property” will be Flamingo but that hasn’t been confirmed by Caesars Entertainment yet.

The Venetian, Wynn Las Vegas, and other individually operated casinos will reopen with limited hotel room capacity.

Phased reopening for off-Strip properties

The large casino corporations off the Vegas Strip are also taking a phased opening approach for their properties.

Boyd Gaming representatives say the company will only open it’s Las Vegas locals casinos as soon as they’re allowed:

  • Aliante
  • Cannery
  • Eastside Cannery
  • Gold Coast
  • The Orleans
  • Sam’s Town
  • Suncoast

Boyd Gaming representatives said it will open each property with limited restaurants and bars. The company hasn’t released details on specific venue openings for each property but it’s possible that some casinos could open without hotels at first.

Boyd is not expected to open its downtown Las Vegas properties right away. The company will take a wait and see approach for opening The California, Main Street Station, and Fremont Hotel and Casino. These three casinos depend more on tourists traveling to Las Vegas than locals who just want to visit the closest casino.

Station Casinos is also taking a phased opening approach. While most of the company’s high-end properties will reopen right away, Palms will remain closed. Station Casinos will re-open only the following properties in its first phase of reopening.

  • Boulder Station
  • Green Valley Ranch
  • Palace Station
  • Red Rock Casino
  • Santa Fe Station
  • Sunset Station

Smaller casino operators off the Vegas Strip are waiting on the go-ahead to reopen before revealing any specifics. For example, the future of Rampart Casino in Summerlin is in doubt as the property recently laid off most of its employees. However, the company hasn’t said if they will or won’t reopen.

Las Vegas casino health and safety plans

The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved minimum requirements for casinos reopening. Many of the individual plans from casino operators are similar and adhere to the recommendations made by the board.

All casinos will increase how often they clean gaming machines and table game areas. In addition to limiting the number of people in each part of the gaming floor casinos will have hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes for guests to use.

Every part of the table games will be cleaned regularly including tables, chairs, rails, chips, cards, dice, and tiles for Pai Gow. The pits themselves will also be cleaned more often. Casino employees will all be taught best practices in social distancing and cleaning. All casino staff will wear masks. Most casinos will recommend that guests also wear masks.

Here are specific health and safety plans to peruse before visiting your favorite Las Vegas casino:

When casinos reopen they should be cleaner and more streamlined than ever before. MGM Resorts, for example, is offering touchless check-in for its hotels. Guests can check into their rooms via a mobile device. The same device can be used as a key. This has been available for a while but will be promoted more as social distancing and touching fewer objects is more important than ever for many customers.



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