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Nevada Gaming Control Board Tells Licensees Not To Screw Around With Clark County Mask Mandate

Ross Everett
by in Gaming Industry on
  • Clark County, Nevada–home county of Las Vegas–has re-instituted a mask mandate for employees due to rising COVID-19 infection rates.
  • Anti-vax lunatics have caused the county’s COVID-19 metrics to deteriorate significantly.
  • The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGC) has emphasized the importance of gaming licensees complying with the mask mandate.

The Clark County, Nevada County Commission convened an emergency meeting on Tuesday to address the upward spiral in COVID-19 vaccination rates. The reason for this surge was readily apparent at the meeting itself as anti-mask and anti vaccination loons–equally representing the pro-Trump right and the flat out crazy left–lined up to rail at commissioners for trying to protect the public health from their stupidity. Not surprisingly, the commission was undeterred by the backwards yokels and issued a new mask mandate.

If anything, the county showed considerable restraint. The new mandate applies only to workers in public indoor spaces who must now wear masks regardless of vaccination status. For now at least, the public is exempt from the mandate meaning that fully vaccinated individuals aren’t required to wear a mask. The surge in COVID-19 infections in the Las Vegas area is a concern not only from a public health perspective but an economic one. In the past week, both Los Angeles County and the City of Chicago issued a travel advisory for several states, including Nevada. In addition, popular recording artist Bruno Mars cancelled a couple of scheduled appearances this weekend–rumors suggest this was due to the COVID-19 though the Bruno Mars camp is denying this. The state’s tourism and gaming industries have rebounded nicely from their pandemic nadir but the COVID-19 rebound threatens the continued viability of this recovery.

Commissioner Jim Gibson had this common sense statement during the meeting due to what he described as a ‘medical crisis’:

“We’re talking here about doing something — getting going. Yeah, there is probably a more perfect way to address things,” he added, “but you don’t let the crisis just linger for a while until you come up with the perfect solution.”

Clark County doesn’t have jurisdiction over gaming properties but immediately two other major institutions endorsed the move: the Nevada Resort Association and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce. Both hoped that the local gaming businesses would voluntarily enforce the mask mandate.

The ‘voluntarily’ part was taken out of the equation earlier today in a notice to the industry from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The NGC indicated that the order also applies to licensees under their jurisdiction and that failure to comply violates state gaming regulations:

“When the Board issued Industry Notice #2021-48 earlier this year, it did so knowing that the pandemic
would be an evolving emergency for the foreseeable future, and that local jurisdictions would act in the
best interests of their constituents.” said Chair J. Brin Gibson. “As a partner in the mitigation and
management of the COVID-19 pandemic since its inception, the Board is fully supportive of the
Southern Nevada Health District and the Clark County Commission in its mask mandate for employees
in Clark County. The Board will ensure compliance with this requirement in Clark County within the
Board’s areas of jurisdiction.”

The Board reminds its licensees, gaming employees, and the general public that a licensee in violation
of any federal, state, or local laws or regulations is a violation of Nevada Gaming Commission
Regulation 5.011, and that the Board may seek disciplinary action by the Nevada Gaming Commission
for any such violation.

Technically speaking, the NGC’s oversight only applies to a casino’s gaming regulations and not ancillary operations such as the hotel or dining facilities. That being said, the NGC has previously pointed out that while their official oversight might only be over gaming operations that they take a dim view of licensees that aren’t on board with COVID mitigation efforts throughout their property. It never ends well to get on the wrong side of Nevada’s gaming regulators and particular with something so critical to the health and welfare of the state.

Fortunately, the majority of Nevada’s gaming businesses have not only been compliant but have done much on their own to insure the safety of the public and employees. More recently, they were instrumental in facilitating vaccinations of their employees which helped the gaming industry rebound more expediently. This is crucial now as the state reported 931new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, a dramatic increase from a low 7 day moving average of 132 cases reached in early June.

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