Nevada prepares to open its casinos following new guidelines released by the NGCB. The announcement has sparked a debate about smoking in casinos and problem gambling.
Guidelines for Reopening of Casinos Released by the Gaming Commission
Thursday, May 7, the Nevada Gaming Commission Board (NGCB) announced the approval of guidelines for the reopening of state casinos. The Gaming Commission’s decision was unanimous and the listed guidelines would affect more than 400 state casinos. Following a near 40-minute discussion on Thursday, rules were finally released on Friday, May 8. The guidelines aim at the health and safety of the vendors and customers of the businesses which are planned to reopen.
Following the stay at home order, which was issued by Governor Steve Sisolak back in March, yesterday marks the first day of talks for reopening of the casinos. The freshly released guidelines include the following restrictions:
- three players per blackjack table
- six players per craps table
- four players per roulette table
- four players per poker table.
Commenting on the subject, Gaming Control Board Sandra Morgan noted: “These are unprecedented times that require unprecedented measures.” She further added “We are confident that these policies are sound, not only for our licensees, but for our employees and guests.”
The Debate for Smoking and Problem Gambling
The recent guidelines sparked an interesting debate concerning smoking and problem gambling. Upon releasing the community guidelines, the Nevada Gaming commissioners expressed their gratitude towards all people who contacted them with letters that included suggestions. One of those hot topics was smoking.
Assistant professor Jennifer Pearson at the School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, Reno expressed concern that people who are smoking will assist the further spread of the COVID-19 virus. After all, smokers do need to remove their masks in order to smoke. The debate continues further as a smoking ban can also be beneficial for the employees of the casinos. With that said, one has to consider that the COVID-19 virus can pose a higher threat for people with respiratory diseases which are caused by smoking.
Former MGM executive, Alan Feldman raised the question about problem gambling. As it turns out, problem gambling was not included in the recent guidelines. Feldman expressed his concern about the parts of society which were in isolation since March. Some of those people are unemployed and the reopening of casinos may trigger their bad habits. Feldman further noted that those points need to be taken in consideration and included in the state policies.
Insight on the Guidelines by Nevada’s Gaming Commission
As noted, the guidelines of the Gaming Commission include gaming limits. Also the occupancy of each venue will be reduced in half. This will be calculated depending on the each building’s fire codes.
Furthermore, the guidelines implement testing of employees for COVID-19 and virus antibodies. Free personal protective equipment must be available for the whole workforce as well as the visitors of the businesses. Cleaning of all internal areas as well as high traffic areas will be conducted more frequently.
Mrs. Morgan noted that the current guidelines can be changed in due time if additional regulations need to be implemented. She deemed the current policies as “universal” and further noted that if necessary they can be upgraded.