Las Vegas casinos and non-essential businesses were ordered to close in March to help slow the spread of coronavirus. We can’t say with 100% certainty when Las Vegas casinos will reopen but we have an idea of dates and how they’ll approach opening for guests once again.
The largest casino operators in Las Vegas recently shared plans on how the properties will reopen. Many of these casino operators have also released health and safety plans to provide specific details on how the companies plan to protect guests.
Las Vegas casino openings
Las Vegas casinos were ordered closed in the middle of March by Gov. Steve Sisolak to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The entire state is slowly allowing businesses to reopen. Phase 1 of the “Roadmap to Recovery For Nevada” is currently underway.
Reopening casinos is not part of the first phase of the reopening of Nevada. In fact, the Governor won’t give details on when casinos will reopen. The Nevada Gaming Control Board will announce the dates Las Vegas casinos can reopen. Once a date is announced it will be up to the casino operator to reopen.
Las Vegas casinos keep moving the goal post to take reservations again based on dates they’ve been told already. The casinos with open reservations are just trying to prepare for reopening. There’s nothing set in stone just yet. Every casino operator is taking a different approach to opening.
Here are the current estimated opening dates for some Las Vegas casinos:
- Caesars Entertainment – May 29
- Cosmopolitan – June 4
- MGM Resorts – June 1
- The Orleans (select Boyd Gaming properties) – June 1
- Station Casinos – June 1
- Treasure Island – May 22
- The Venetian – June 1
- Wynn Las Vegas – June 1
- Sahara – June 1
Remember, these dates are all subject to change. It appears as if Las Vegas casinos will be able to open on June 4. There will be an official announcement on May 26.
Slowly reopening Las Vegas casinos
Las Vegas casinos won’t look the same when they reopen. Everything at the casinos — including the properties themselves — will open in phases. The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved that measure last week along with a slew of health and safety requirements for reopening casinos.
The gaming floor will only allow for up to 50% occupancy when casinos reopen. There will be fewer guests allowed in the most popular casinos than usual. This is just a maximum occupancy requirement. A casino can choose to allow fewer guests if they wish.
The NGCB recommends casinos either turn off or remove chairs from every other video poker and slot machine. Table games will also have a limited number of seats available for players.
- Blackjack: Three (3) players per table
- Craps: Six (6) players per table
- Roulette: Four (4) players per table
All games played on a blackjack-sized table like 3 card poker should have the same number of seats available. Poker tables will only be allowed to have four players per table. It’s unclear which poker rooms will reopen alongside the rest of the casinos.
Las Vegas casinos will reopen a limited number of restaurants and bars at first and add more as demand warrants. Entertainment will also be slow to return to Las Vegas casinos. During MGM Resorts’ recent earnings call, the acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle mentioned that he can see smaller shows like Carrot Top returning before large events at T-Mobile Arena.
The gaming control board is also dictating a couple of popular amenities won’t return to Las Vegas casinos reopen. Dayclubs (and pool parties) along with nightclubs will remain closed as casinos open for business.
Phased property openings for Las Vegas casino companies
Just about every Las Vegas casino will reopen in phases. Larger companies will reopen with just a few properties. Each property will offer different amenities and services depending on demand.
The two big operators on the Vegas Strip will approach reopening similarly. Both MGM Resorts and Caesars will only open two casinos to start. Coincidentally or not, each company will open its most iconic property along with a less expensive property. Representatives for both companies also say they can open up to four properties quickly if there’s enough demand.
MGM Resorts will open Bellagio to compete with other luxury properties like Wynn and The Venetian. The company will also open New York-New York to more budget-conscious travelers.
Caesars will open Caesars Palace and a “value property” on the east side of the Vegas Strip. There are rumors that the “value property” will be Flamingo but that hasn’t been confirmed by Caesars Entertainment yet.
The Venetian, Wynn Las Vegas, and other individually operated casinos will reopen with limited hotel room capacity.
Additionally, MGM Resorts and Cosmopolitan won’t charge for parking when the companies reopen properties on the Vegas Strip.
Phased reopening for off-Strip properties
The large casino corporations off the Vegas Strip are also taking a phased opening approach for their properties.
Boyd Gaming representatives say the company will only open it’s Las Vegas locals casinos as soon as they’re allowed:
- Eastside Cannery
- Gold Coast
- The Orleans
- Sam’s Town
Boyd Gaming representatives said it will open each property with limited restaurants and bars. The company hasn’t released details on specific venue openings for each property but it’s possible that some casinos could open without hotels at first.
Boyd is not expected to open its downtown Las Vegas properties right away. The company will take a wait and see approach for opening The California, Main Street Station, and Fremont Hotel and Casino. These three casinos depend more on tourists traveling to Las Vegas than locals who just want to visit the closest casino.
Station Casinos is also taking a phased opening approach. While most of the company’s high-end properties will reopen right away, Palms will remain closed. Station Casinos will re-open only the following properties in its first phase of reopening.
- Boulder Station
- Green Valley Ranch
- Palace Station
- Red Rock Casino
- Santa Fe Station
- Sunset Station
Smaller casino operators off the Vegas Strip are waiting on the go-ahead to reopen before revealing any specifics. For example, the future of Rampart Casino in Summerlin is in doubt as the property recently laid off most of its employees. However, the company hasn’t said if they will or won’t reopen.
Las Vegas casino health and safety plans
The Nevada Gaming Control Board approved minimum requirements for casinos reopening. Many of the individual plans from casino operators are similar and adhere to the recommendations made by the board.
All casinos will increase how often they clean gaming machines and table game areas. In addition to limiting the number of people in each part of the gaming floor casinos will have hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes for guests to use.
Every part of the table games will be cleaned regularly including tables, chairs, rails, chips, cards, dice, and tiles for Pai Gow. The pits themselves will also be cleaned more often. Casino employees will all be taught best practices in social distancing and cleaning. All casino staff will wear masks. Most casinos will recommend that guests also wear masks.
Here are specific health and safety plans to peruse before visiting your favorite Las Vegas casino:
- Caesars Entertainment (Caesars Palace and another casino)
- MGM Resorts (Bellagio and New York-New York)
- Treasure Island
- The Venetian (The Venetian and The Palazzo)
- Wynn Las Vegas (Wynn and Encore)
- Boyd Gaming (The Orleans, Gold Coast, etc.)
- Station Casinos (Red Rock, Palace Station, etc.)
When casinos reopen they should be cleaner and more streamlined than ever before. MGM Resorts, for example, is offering touchless check-in for its hotels. Guests can check into their rooms via a mobile device. The same device can be used as a key. This has been available for a while but will be promoted more as social distancing and touching fewer objects is more important than ever for many customers.