May 9, 2020 3 min read


Nevada’s Casinos Prepare to Reopen, Following Guidelines Released from Gaming Commission

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.


As an avid follower of sports and the newly recognized industry of esports, Heidi uses her expertise to help the team push out the best sports content. She is also continually learning more about the gambling industry in general and pushes out a variety of content.


  • Theresa
    May 10, 2020 at 10:34 pm

    There has always been problem gamblers so stop blaming or speculating the lockdown will make us worse. As fir smoking at the tables the dealers were aware that this goes on before they took the job. Let them wear a mask and they won’t breathe the air. If that’s not good enough get rid of the problem by hiring someone willing to work.

  • Rossella
    May 10, 2020 at 10:35 pm

    If you take your mask off to smoke
    You also take it off to drink and eat! Now what?

  • Kimberley Keizer
    May 10, 2020 at 11:49 pm

    If you ban smoking you will loose alot of business. I for will not go anymore. I realize you have to take off your mask to smoke but you also have to take off your mask to drink. It will be the end of the casinos. Look what happened to Bill’s casino in SLT they banned smoking and went out of business

  • Purl
    May 11, 2020 at 12:06 am

    Geeeez. With everything else let the non smokers jump on their high horse and try to take advantage of ANY situation to fight about smokers !! Make smoking/ non smoking areas do they’ll shut up!! Oh no they won’t! They’ll sit in smoking and complain. That’s the way it is in Calif. non smoking rooms are empty fir the most part. Sick of it!!!!!

  • Julie Davis
    May 11, 2020 at 12:42 am

    Ok however banning cigarettes from casinos for the sake of health issues to the non smokers,? That’s not right that the smokers be shut down because it’s been smoking since the beginning of the casinos. Instead why don’t you casinos work around the non smokers instead like make a special area for them or do certain hours of business open just for them or the other but to ban smoking all together is wrong smokers were here first Damnit!!!

  • Sam
    May 12, 2020 at 5:27 am

    According to your logic, coronavirus patients should have the freedom to go anywhere or there should be special non-coronavirus sections in a casino and anyone who doesn’t like it has to stay away. Double standards: only you get to endanger others.

  • Cora Craft
    May 12, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    I visit Nevada once a year in June. Hoping to go this year. But if they ban smoking, it will be a mistake. Smoking goes with gambling. Most gamblers smoke. It is like bowling alleys. When they stopped smoking in them, the amount of people bowling dropped badly.

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