The Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) is set to investigate 111 possible cases of non-compliance from casinos regarding the regulatory body’s stringent health and safety protocols designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to the NGCB, the cases were added to their docket after their enforcement division conducted almost 7,500 inspections of licensees since casinos reopened. If a licensee is confirmed to have been non-compliant, the GCB may penalize the licensee.
There are almost 2,500 licensees in the state of Nevada under the purview of the NGCB. Since June 4, the GCB observed each licensee an average of three times. The cases represent 1.5% of all visits.
The president and CEO of the Nevada Resort Association, Virginia Valentine strongly disputed the NGCB’s claims. Valentine stated that all of their members have either met or exceeded the protocols recommended by medical and public health experts such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as directives from gaming regulators and local government officials.
The 111 possible cases were similarly downplayed by Global Market Advisors’ Brendan Bussman, director of government affairs. Bussman said the NGCB has yet to reveal whether the cases represent serious breaches—some cases may simply be the result of misunderstandings. However, Bussman made clear that if the NGCB does indeed have serious cases, they must be dealt with immediately to prevent negative repercussions for the entire industry.
Josh Swissman, a founding partner for the Las Vegas-based The Strategy Organization, praised the NGCB’s initiative, claiming that their investigation highlights just how serious the regulatory body is taking their new policies.
Penalty for Non-Compliance Still to be Decided
Most of the policies were enacted immediately upon the reopening of casinos on June 4, such as social distancing measures and a cap on crowd size. Other rules were added as more information is gained on the spread of the coronavirus. The most recent directive states that face masks must be worn at all times by employees as well as guests if they are not drinking, smoking, or eating.
The NGCB has so far refused to provide details on how the plan to discipline licensees who violated their rules. According to board member Terry Johnson, they are currently thinking about suspending licenses as a possible penalty.
The NGCB’s continued investigation whether the new health and safety protocols are being followed consistently is in partnership with the Nevada OSHA and both the Las Vegas and Clark Country Business License Departments.