LAS VEGAS (FOX5)-- Three Arizona casinos closed again amid a spike in the state’s COVID-19 cases. Properties will spend at least two weeks reevaluating their safety standards.
That kind of closure is exactly what Las Vegas valley casinos want to avoid.
“I think it’s a step back,” gaming expert Howard Stutz said. “We’re all worried about it.”
Stutz is keeping an eye on casinos in Arizona.
“The Gila River properties opened, then all of a sudden they closed after a couple of weeks,” he said. “We don’t want to see it regress back. The governor has already said we’re not moving into Phase 3 until at least the end of the month. We have more and more casinos opening. A lot more are going to open next week ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.”
Stutz said the closures could be a bad sign for casinos in the valley.
“The problem is now, we’re getting a lot of people – it’s Vegas, let’s have fun, get back at it -- and that’s what’s getting dangerous,” Stutz said.
Safety plans in those three Arizona casinos are comparable to what’s in place here, according to Stutz. Employees are required to wear masks and PPE, but it remains optional for guests.
This week, the Nevada Gaming Control Board took things a step further, making it mandatory for players to wear masks at table games that do now have physical dividers.
Stutz added there are some differences from Arizona casinos that could play in Vegas’s favor.
“Think of Red Rock Resort or Green Valley Ranch, some of the big local properties, that’s what a lot of these Indian properties are like,” he said.
That’s compared to Strip properties, which have a lot more space.
“Big casinos can spread things out. It’s just a matter of people adhering to those guidelines,” Stutz said.
Casinos in Arizona are run by Indian communities. In Nevada, it’s the state that sets the standards.
On top of that, the Culinary Union doubled down on its demand for stricter guidelines from the GCB. They said even changes made this week, didn’t go far enough.
“There’s got to be some balance in this,” Stutz said. “Yes, you want to come to Vegas, have a good time. You can still have a good time, you just have to social distance.”