South Lake Tahoe casinos have started to close down their gaming operations as the Caldor Fire gets worse.
South Lake Tahoe Operators Partially Close Operations
As of Monday, South Lake Tahoe operators of four big casinos have begun closing parts of their gaming operations after fire officials in California have ordered evacuations of residents up to the Nevada border in response to the spread of the Caldor fire. The disruption comes just as Lake Tahoe resorts prepared for Labor Day weekend. Last weekend, several facilities canceled entertainment as the fire grew in California.
In an email, Nevada Gaming Control Board Audit Division Chief Kelly Colvin said that many of the employees at the four major gaming facilities along Highway 50 are residents of California and have already left the properties and evacuated from their homes. He said that some casino operators notified the Control Board on Monday afternoon, announcing they shut down part of their gaming operations. According to him, the situation would escalate in the coming hours.
Caesars Entertainment operates two of the casinos – Harveys and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. Paragon Gaming, a Las Vegas-based operator, runs Hard Rock Lake Tahoe and Bally’s Corp. operates Montbleu Casino Resort.
Operators Released Statements Regarding the Situation
A source from Hard Rock said that it is housing some of the firefighters and evacuated California residents. In a statement by a spokeswoman, Hard Rock Lake Tahoe officials have expressed their gratitude to the firefighters and the first responders, who are working tirelessly to protect family, friends, other people’s homes and the natural resources of the South Shore of the lake. Hard Rock continues monitoring the situation and is in close contact with the local, state and federal government.
Currently, Montbleu Resort Casino also houses evacuated residents, team members and firefighters, according to the property’s general manager, Tim Tretton. He stated that the hotel, to-go restaurant and casino (slots only) are open. The staff continues to support the community and works with the fire chief.
Caesars is fighting on several fronts. The company is also dealing with the closures of its properties in Louisiana and Mississippi due to Hurricane Ida, including Harrah’s New Orleans in Louisiana and Harrah’s Gulf Coast in Biloxi, MS. In a statement, the company said that Harrah’s and Harveys Lake Tahoe are not under mandatory evacuation. The management stated that they recognize that the situation is rapidly changing and are constantly in contact with the local officials to make sure they are ready for any development. Currently, the properties are operational and support local emergency services, fire crews and evacuated team members.
Caesars stated that the safety of its guests, team members and the community is their primary concern. The company will work closely with the local officials and emergency responders and assist them further.
Insufficient Sheltering Could Escalate the Situation
According to the Associated Press, California’s Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention issued an evacuation order at 10 AM for areas near the Nevada Border. The recommended evacuation route was Highway 50, east towards Nevada. The fire has already burned more than 175,000 acres.
A little before 3 PM on Monday, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak declared an emergency order in the state in response to the fire. He said that the fire would cross from California to Nevada in the coming days as emergency measures need to take place, ensuring resources and assistance on local, state and federal levels. In his statement, he said that there could be “insufficient sheltering” caused by the evacuation of more than 20,000 residents and tourists in South Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area.
According to Sisolak, an evacuation would overwhelm the community services and create unsafe conditions due to fuel shortages.