- »Face Masks Are No More at Some Las Vegas Casinos
Face Masks Are No More at Some Las Vegas Casinos
The wearing of face masks is no longer mandatory in several major Las Vegas casinos. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak made the announcement this week as Super Bowl Sunday approaches.
Super Bowl Sunday is a very busy time for Las Vegas casinos with thousands of tourists heading to Sin City to get in on the action. This year could be even busier because the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Los Angeles Rams, and California is within driving distance of Vegas.
Large numbers of people do not like wearing face masks, so forcing them to do so could result in them not visiting casinos. The potential loss of Super Bowl-related customers did not sit well with Vegas casinos. Wearing face masks indoors has been mandatory for most of the past 23 months.
Governor Sisolak told Nevada residents his reasoning for removing the face masks mandate. The governor also said he expects to see Nevadans wearing face masks when in public places.
“I’m doing what I think is best to protect the health and welfare of the residents of the state of Nevada, balancing all the factors and all the data that’s been presented to me.
“Just like vaccines, masks are still a great tool that we have at our disposal. I expect going forward to still see Nevadans and visitors utilizing masks when they are out in public.”
Face Masks Mandate Lifted After Almost Two Years
The face masks mandate has been in place for the best part of two years. Governor Sisolak removed the mandate temporarily but reinstated it following a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections.
Face masks hit the headlines during the delayed 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP). The WSOP announced the requirement of face masks for its dealers but not seated players. However, players could only compete if they proved they had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Being vaccinated was not mandatory for any other Las Vegas casino outside the WSOP.
Face masks are still required on public transport and airports. In addition, the wearing of masks is mandatory in hospitals and health care clinics. Private businesses and schools have the power to mandate masks.
“If a particular school board wants to go further, or a particular business wants to go further than my directive has, and require masks and various things, they’re entitled to do that.”
Several Casinos Chime In
MGM Resorts was one of the first casino operators to announce its face mask requirements. It runs several Vegas properties, including ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, and The Mirage.
Wynn Resorts, operators of Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, followed suit. As did Resorts World Las Vegas and The Venetian.
The move to remove face masks has raised a few eyebrows, not least because of the state’s poor vaccination record. Only 67% of Nevada’s population of five-year and older have initiated vaccination. Only 56% of the population is fully vaccinated, ranking Nevada 32nd from 50 states.
The State of Las Vegas Poker
Governor Sisolak’s move is welcomed by poker players in Las Vegas, but the state of the game in Sin City is not what it once was. Vegas was once seen as a Mecca for poker players, but not any more.
Only 19 poker rooms are open in Vegas, down more than a dozen from March 2020. Poker rooms at The Rio, Mirage, Excalibur, and Binion’s folded. Harrah’s, and Planet Hollywood also closed their poker rooms.
Poker players do not bring in much revenue for the space they take up. The COVID-19 pandemic caused massive losses for casinos and those casinos are looking to recoup their losses. Casinos see installing slots and table games as the most cost-effective way of doing this.
There are still plenty of places to play poker in Vegas. Business is booming at Aria, Bellagio, Venetian, and Wynn, with cash games running 24/7 and major tournaments taking place.