Virus Outbreak Nevada

Hotel room lights spell out "Vegas Strong" at the Wynn hotel-casino along the Las Vegas Strip as casinos and other business are shuttered due to the coronavirus outbreak Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- As Las Vegas Strip properties roll out plans to reopen, a casino dealer spoke to FOX5 about the changes she wants to see before going back to work.

“We need our cash cleaned, we need chips cleaned, we need people cleaned - your hands,” Kanie Kastroll said. “Our union has been asking for masks since January.”

Kastroll is part of the gaming union UAW and has been a dealer at Wynn Las Vegas for 15 years.

“A lot of my coworkers are nervous, but we have been nervous for months,” Kastroll said dealers noticed what was happened at casinos as coronavirus spread overseas.

“We’re afraid,” she said. “The workers are afraid and we really pray that we get some sort of vaccine.”

So for Kastroll, when the Strip shut down, it was a relief.

“We were relieved to be out of that building because we were so afraid of catching something from our customers or each other.”

Wynn Resorts has continued to pay its employees their salaries plus average tips. It was also one of the first Strip properties to release its plan to reopen.

“It seemed like a pretty thorough plan,” Kastroll said.

On top of social distancing and extra cleaning, the resort said it will add thermal cameras and more training for staff.

“The red flag for we, dealers, is that we cannot have second-hand smoke or smoking at any worksite anymore,” Kastroll said.

She said that’s a change she wants to see at all Strip properties and something that her union has been fighting for, for years now.

“Smoking kills and now with COVID-19, it’s another example of how smoking kills,” Kastroll referenced studies that suggest smoking exasperates coronavirus symptoms.

She added she would not feel comfortable returning to work until testing is increased valley-wide.

“We need to know what our numbers are,” she said.

Guidelines from the Nevada Gaming Control Board will only allow casinos to operate at 50% capacity.

“Generally, the casinos pay minimum wage or slightly above it,” Kastroll said. “Then the majority of it, 85% of your income, is from tips, so if we’re slow on business, it’s hard to make up our salary.”

Kastroll wants to see her regulars again, but only when she can do so safely.

“Which is better? To stay home? Stay home is safer,” she said. “Everybody is wanting to work. Everybody is wanting to make a living. But you don’t want to die for it.”

In a March interview, former MGM CEO Jim Murren weighed in on the future of smoking at Strip properties. He told FOX5 he cannot speak for gaming companies, but with designated areas already in place, smoke-free casinos could become a reality.

“We have so many guests particularly from Asia that find that is an important element for their gaming experience,” he said. “We are always looking for non-smoking areas. We’ve gone non-smoking in multiple venues in the resorts and I think that over time, we’ll gravitate toward that.”

Murren currently leads the state’s coronavirus task force.

Copyright 2020 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(13) comments

capsaicin

i think the author needs to look up the difference between exasperates and exacerbates

Ginger Li

I saw that as well. What do you expect of those for whom English is a second language?

Livpaiz

As a dealer at the Wynn Las Vegas, I speak for many of us who DO NOT agree with Kanie. WE ARE SO VERY GRATEFUL FOR EVERYTHING MATT MADDOX AND OUR MANAGEMENT HAS DONE FOR US. The Wynn took a very strong stance in protecting and providing for their employees and their families during this time. One person DOES NOT speak for all of us and I, along with my family who are also Wynn employees, trust that The Wynn will continue to do what’s best and safest for their employees and the guest!

Sydewaze

If you don’t like the smoke, then find another job. You knew when you asked for the job that there was going to be smoking around you. If you don’t like it now, then go work somewhere else.

Ginger Li

As a former smoker, I can see both sides of the table's views. It always irritated me when someone exaggerated their annoyance with my smoking. After quitting, I then began to smell the smoke - in the air and on others. It was repulsive - to the point of guilt of having been so offensive myself. The management should advocate in favor of the employees. No one's forcing the players to gamble - there's a whole lot of impersonal ways to try your luck online. It's the house's game in every way - and it should be with regard to smoking as well.

YoEleven

As a casino dealer I can't wait for the outright ban of smoking in casinos. It's time for the casinos to put my health and well being over profits.

Sydewaze

Maybe it’s time you put your own health and wellbeing ahead of profits and go work somewhere else if you don’t like the smoke.

Henry 67

I know this covid-19 is real but you are blowing this way way way way of proportion it is not as bad as that that you have to clean the money clean the chips clean the people getting a little crazy now❗❗❗❗

GoddessNek

Stopping ppl from being able to smoke while they drink and gamble will cause a problem-the same problem when I leave clubs because Im not allowed to smoke in the club. I have to smoke while have my drink together or I’ll gag I don’t know why but I do. I only smoke when I drink. So I can’t see that happening. I highly doubt that will happen or come true but nothing wrong with dreaming. I wish you the best how about find another job while I’m over here wishing I was born with money 💰 never happened an will never happen.

XGIsincity

First of all, there is no such thing as getting cancer from "second hand" smoke. Ask any forensic pathologist who is truthful and doesn't have an ulterior agenda. It's the same as everyone who has died recently, has died from COV 19, it couldn't have been from the immune deficiency the patient had prior to this outbreak, huh? Or the pneumonia the patient had since December, huh? However, the COV 19 only deaths, although all the deaths are tragic in every sense of the word, amount to an exponentially lower mortality rate than the seasonal flu.

Well, second hand smoke is the same, it will never be the facilitator or the primary single cause of anyone's cancer or death from it. (not the case for the primary smoker, lung cancer is imminent and we are aware of that fact) If the casinos are astute in recent Vegas history, just look back at the vote on PROP 2 where it was a choice of bars/restaurants to make a choice of either having food service, other than take-out OR smoking. Well, we know how that turned out, but do they understand why it turned out that way? A lot of waitress' and cooks lost their jobs because of that ultimatum. Smoking goes hand in hand with booze, and booze goes hand in hand with gambling and gambling is the goal . If casinos have their sights on filing Ch 11 or 13 within the next year or two, go ahead, ban smoking.

Even a lot of the professed non-smoking health nuts, will occasionally have a few cigarettes after a couple drinks, so the density population of those who are tired of the non-smoker, whiny diatribe, is actually a lot higher than any of your power point projections are telling you. So, just like everything else in Vegas, are you willing to gamble your company's future and go "all in" or just explain to the whiners that you have already installed the best air circulators money can buy and to let the pit boss know if you ever happen to see a smoke cloud lingering over the table like the halo above your head obviously does.

Hawks15

Good explanation. But those little whiners wont understand it. When I run into a wussy that wants to have something taken away that has been around for years in our country, I tell them to leave and find another country to live.

JamesRobert

That is one of the MOST RIDICULOUS TAKES I've ever seen on the internets, and I've seen plenty! Good Gawd, HAVE YOU NO SHAME?! Posting this absolute rubbish; like you know what you're talking about or something, WHICH YOU DON'T. And, I'm a smoker. But, I deal in SCIENCE & FACTS, not some 'top of the mind' ranting on the internet. Sheesh!

deltawhiskeyhotel

Hopefully Las Vegas can avoid giving in to the anti-smoking and anti-choice propaganda that has taken over much of the rest of the country. The anti-tobacco crusaders are obviously eyeing this as an opportunity to strike.

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