Critics Predict Dark Days as Las Vegas Lights Up After Coronavirus Lockdown

June 8th, 2020 | by Jason Reynolds

Las Vegas is back open for business but not everyone is happy after images of casino revelers spark health concerns.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas reopens and almost immediately sparks a debate among those concerned about coronavirus. (Image: Marriott Hotels)

Three months after being forced to close due to coronavirus, a selection of Vegas casinos reopened over the weekend. With venues back in business from June 4, the city built on gambling is slowly getting back to reality.

However, with coronavirus still a concern for many, including WSOP organizers, video footage from Sin City has shocked some onlookers.

Business is Back but Far From Normal

The Las Vegas of June 2020 isn’t quite the same as it was. The Nevada Gaming Control Board issued a series of coronavirus prevention measures all casinos have to implement before opening.

The main rules that must be followed are:

-Dealers are required to wear facemasks.

-The number of players at a table has to be reduced

-Cleaning schedules have to be enhanced.

Poker is also back. The Venetian, Orleans and South Point all welcomed players late last week with last-minute approval to offer five-handed games. The new rules are a work-in-progress but also a happy medium designed to give casinos the best chance of offering a “normal” service.

In addition to the rules casinos have to follow, patrons are being asked to observe social distancing guidelines. It’s this condition that sparked controversy over the weekend.

In practice, policing the 6ft (2 meter) rule in a city like Las Vegas is almost impossible. That’s not an acceptable excuse for those who watched a two-minute video posted by LA Times columnist Arash Markazi (see video above).

The clip showing post-lockdown conditions inside the Cosmopolitan has gone viral. Naturally, opinions on either side quickly followed.

Las Vegas Light Up Sparks Controversy

WSOP bracelet winner Ryan D’Angelo was the first to air his concerns. As well as taking aim at casinos and Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman, commenters were quick to blame “casino goers” for jeopardizing the health of America.

Others in the Twitter thread have used the current wave of protests sweeping the US as a point of comparison. Although the dynamics are different, some believe that protests over the death of George Floyd are just as irresponsible.

Whatever moves Las Vegas casinos makes, there are going to be opponents on both sides. The city relies almost exclusively on gambling revenue to survive.

Prolonging the shutdown for longer could cripple the local economy beyond repair. However, with lives at stake, opening up too much too soon could increase the coronavirus death toll significantly.

Las Vegas casino owners are currently playing the odds. Their hope is that, as always, the house wins.


    Comments are closed.