Las Vegas Casinos Shut Down Due to COVID-19 Order

Las Vegas famed casino action is on hold following the implementation of an emergency order signed by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak in response to the rapid spread of the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus.

By: Haley Hintze

The state’s casinos, predominantly including the celebrated Las Vegas Strip, closed at noon on Wednesday. Barring unexpected developments, the casino properties will remain shuttered for at least 30 days, or until April 17, 2020.

Sisolak’s order allowed time for the state’s casino-hotel properties, which number many of dozens, extra time to allow their guests to relocate to other living arrangements. The health order affects far more than casinos, including all bars, gyms, beauty salons, barber shops, malls and sit-down service at restaurants. Restaurants, diners, and other food services that offer drive-through, takeout and delivery services.will be allowed to remain open.

The ban necessarily includes the shutdown of the last remaining Las Vegas and greater Nevada poker rooms that had not closed in the day’s before Sisolak’s order was issued. Many of the state’s casinos had closed their gaming tables, though a few had soldiered on, even in the wake of a statewide health order issued a couple of days before Sisolak’s announcement that allowed only three players to be seated at any single gaming table.

Las Vegas’s Venetian was one such room that attempted to continue providing action, though it reversed course and closed its poker room a day before Sisolak’s announcement. Poker rooms at a handful of Caesars-owned properties similarly saw the writing on the wall and had shut down their live poker operations just prior to Sisolak’s casino-closing ban.

As of the 18th, when Gov. Sisolak issued the closure order, live poker in Las Vegas had dwindled to a handful of Vegas properties. Those casinos included the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas and a handful of Station Casinos properties, including the Orleans, scattered across metro Vegas. All these rooms have since been shuttered as well.

Poker players and other casino-goers alike were stunned at the sudden ghost-like appearance of the normally bustling casino properties, especially the famed Strip. Tales such as that from Aaron Massey, a Chicago poker pro who now spends much of his time in Vegas, were the norm:

Chances that the ban will be lifted before the 30 days are over appear slim. That comes despite loud protests from Las Vegas’s mayor, Carolyn Goodman, who claims that the economic devastation caused by any shutdown longer than 14 days would be too much for Vegas’s economy to bear. Several of the state’s casino corporations have also been reported to have immediately asked for bailout aid from the US federal government. However, widespread opposition appears poised to fight the possibility that entertainment services such as casino gambling would be eligible for such a bailout.


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