Mohegan Sun Casino Settles COVID-19 Fine in NV, Outlines Future Plans

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has recommended Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas for license extension while addressing a COVID-19 safety protocols infringement. 

Mohegan Sun Settles COVID-19 Fine

Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas has settled a case relating to infringement of COVID-19 protocols, with the company apologizing for any wrongdoing represented by its new chief executive, Ray Pineault.

Pineault attended a meeting hosted by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB), which settled the case and backed Mohegan Sun Casino’s property for a license extension. The executive stepped in at the helm of the company following the leave of former CEO Mario Kontomerkos, who stepped down at the end of March just after Virgin Hotels opened its doors on March 25. 

Mohegan’s status in Las Vegas is brand-new as the company is the first tribal property to actually make a dent in Silver State’s biggest gaming hub. Mohegan Gaming manages the 60,000 square foot casino through a partnership with JC Hospitality

Breach of Protocols or Spur of the Moment

Las Vegas underwent prolonged periods of closures that kept tourists at bay and the lights at casino properties off. However, the news that the Virgin Hotels at Las Vegas will be reopening its casino floor did cause a bit of stir which pulled in a healthy crowd.

However, reports quickly trickled in that in attracting a huge crowd, Mohegan has not been able to properly enforce health and safety protocols, at least not at first. Complaints were eventually submitted to the relevant authorities by the Gaming Control Board

The Nevada Occupational Safety & Health Administration enumerated several violations, including lack of social distancing and a failure to enforce mask-wearing. The Las Vegas Review-Journal contributed photo material that proved that none of the guests were eating or drinking, which would have excused the momentary lack of face coverings.

Many maskless patrons went on to share photos on social media which would eventually be cited in the regulators’ claims against the casino. Pineault welcomed the regulators’ decision and said that the company was going to settle on the charges brought against its Las Vegas property, accepting the $60,000 fine.

He also set the tone in which Mohegan will address such issues moving forward, arguing that Pineault assumed full responsibility and adding that he would make sure that all standards issued by the Gaming Control Board are upheld moving forward. 

“Nothing is more important to me, and our organization than the safety and security of our team, guests, and the community, and I recognize there is no excuse for this behavior,” Pineault added in a genuine statement to the Board. 

He confirmed that once management became aware of the infringements, immediate remedial action was taken. The board chairman Brin Gibson said that while he understood Pineault’s position and acknowledged the fact that the executive lived outside of Las Vegas, he also urged him to keep a close eye on the Las Vegas property. 

Sorting Out a Few Details First 

Gibson pressed the questioning and wanted to know what the company’s future plans were. Pineault outlined the company’s immediate goals, which involved a $5 billion resort in South Korea as well as a still-negotiated and potential integrated resort license in Athens, Greece. 

He did caution that both projects had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, changing the timeline and initial forecasts for them. Mohegan expects the South Korea property to be ready by mid-2023, however. 

Gibson similarly wanted to know what made the former chief executive stepped down when he did. To Pineault’s best knowledge, the movie was based on the contractual obligation between the company and Kontomerkos. The former executive may have also not been keen on addressing the challenges of operating the company during the pandemic.

Pineault concluded by saying that development will play a huge part in the company’s immediate plans and until that could be got out of the way, Mohegan is not planning on moving on anything else. In the meantime, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas is planning a party for the weekend. 

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