- Nevada has been hit hard by a spike in COVID-19 cases.
- Despite the coronavirus surge there haven’t been many reported instances at the state’s gaming properties.
- The William Hill sportsbook at the M Resort is the first Nevada sportsbook forced to close due to an employee’s positive coronavirus test.
The state of Nevada has been among the hardest hit by the recent resurgence of positive coronavirus cases. Despite this upswing the state’s gaming industry has done a reasonably good job at operating their properties in a safe manner. There have been a few isolated instances of employees testing positive for the COVID-19 virus though the most severe outbreaks have been at properties outside of the Las Vegas area. For the most part, gaming licensees have been proactive about dealing with positive tests among employees by isolating them, taking the necessary precautions and moving right along.
That looks to be the case at the William Hill sportsbook located at the M Resort in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson. The book was closed Thursday and Friday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. That was largely a precautionary measure–the M Resort and William Hill management clearly took the situation seriously and the sportsbook has reopened after a thorough cleaning. This is the first instance of a Nevada sportsbook closing due to an employee’s positive coronavirus test.
The COVID-19 situation has been more serious in Laughlin, Nevada where there have been at least two properties with significant outbreaks. The most significant looks to have been at the Avi Resort & Casino which has temporarily closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak among employees. The property is operated by the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe and following an undisclosed number of positive tests among their 400 employees the decision was made to shut down until July 10. The smaller Spirit Mountain property in Arizona is also operated by the tribe and has also closed temporarily.
Here’s the press release issued by the tribe announcing the closure:
Avi Resort & Casino has announced it will temporarily suspend all operations of the casino and hotel as of Midnight June 29, 2020 until July 10, 2020. As a result of the suspension, the July 4th fireworks show will also be canceled.
In an abundance of caution to protect the safety and health of our community and our Avi Family, Avi Resort and Casino will temporarily suspend operations. The decision came after a planned Covid-19 retesting of over 400 team members with a few team members having positive COVID-19 test results. In keeping with our core values of ensuring the safety and health of our team members and guests, we believe a few is too many today. Additionally, the significant rise in COVID cases in the local area is of utmost concern. The suspension of operations will allow a thorough evaluation and cleaning of the entire property. As well as, address COVID-19 positive results in the future.
“These are unprecedented times and our commitment to the well-being of our community, tribal members, team members and guests is our highest priority.” said Brian Cook, General Manager of Avi Resort and Casino.
We will use this closure to re-examine every aspect of the operation. This includes disinfection procedures, social distancing measures, health checks, testing protocols, masking and how best to protect workers and everyone who visits the property.
More recently, Caesars Entertainment announced on July 2 that seven employees at their Harrah’s Laughlin property had tested positive for COVID-19. According to a statement from a Caesars spokesperson the cases were dealt with according to company health and safety protocols:
“Harrah’s Laughlin has had seven team members test positive for COVID-19 since reopening on June 4. In every instance, Caesars followed its COVID-19 health and safety protocols.”
How well the Nevada gaming industry is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic depends on who you talk to. The Culinary Union filed a lawsuit against several major strip venues which likely says more about their contentious relationship with gaming companies more than anything else. There have also been media reports about The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas suggesting that the company is indifferent to the health and safety of employees. Since the ‘source’ of that assertion is 9 employees who wished to remain anonymous it’s tough to conclude much about the veracity of these claims. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has opened 111 regulatory cases over health and safety noncompliance as of July 1. Since these were the result of 7,461 inspections you can’t really conclude that there’s a widespread compliance issue.