- Gov. Steve Sisolak is considering imposing new coronavirus restrictions on Nevada’s gaming properties.
- Experts feel the introduction of new measures will cause a further economic impact on the ailing casino industry.
- Other states have responded to the surge in COVID-19 cases by shutting down casinos.
- Las Vegas casinos and other gaming venues in Nevada haven’t fully recovered from earlier closures.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak is weighing new health restrictions on the state’s gaming properties as COVID-19 cases continue to surge. Las Vegas casinos haven’t fully recovered from earlier closures.
On Wednesday, the governor didn’t leave specific details about the possibility of closing casinos once again. Experts are worried about a further financial impact on the gaming industry, which is already suffering from weekday closures and revenue losses from several months of shutdown.
“My administration is exploring all mitigation options available to get this under control,” Sisolak told reporters. “We will have to wait and see what happens next week.”
The governor said he was trying to protect the state’s “fragile economy.” It is like “walking a tightrope to balance public health and economic impacts,” Sisolak explained.
With Thanksgiving coming in a matter of days, the Democratic governor announced he would soon provide details about the next steps to deal with the upsurge. On November 10, Sisolak encouraged Nevadans to stay at home to help combat the new wave of the pandemic. However, casinos are still open for now.
When asked about likely new measures, director of UNLV’s Center for Business and Economic Research and economics teacher Stephen Miller said the governor’s recent Stay at Home 2.0 directive “was light on specifics.”
He summarized the plan this way, “If you can work from home, do so. Wear a mask at all times. In 14 days, a re-evaluation will occur.”
Miller told Casino.org that it requires “more than 14 days to see significant effects, since positive tests, hospitalizations, and deaths follow a dynamic path.
Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law Anthony Cabot said the “rapid escalation of COVID-19” cases is “unwelcome news.” He noted that visitors remain hesitant about boarding planes, which is impacting the number of guests Nevada receives.
“We have to wait to see if the governor directs these new restrictions at the casino market or to other businesses,” said Cabot. “Speculating on whether these enhanced restrictions will impact the tourist casinos is challenging to predict.”
Miller noted that the economy recovered only “about half of the loss of economic activity” that happened in March and April. He added that “the recovery has slowed and could head south again.”
The surge in COVID-19 cases across the nation has forced other states to begin shutting casinos. The commercial casinos in Illinois will shut down starting Friday. The state hasn’t announced a reopening date.
The tribal and commercial casinos of Michigan were to shut down as of Wednesday, announced Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
On Wednesday, Nevada reported 1,665 new COVID-19 cases and three more deaths. So far, the pandemic has claimed 1,947 lives in the state.