Added in Casino News on April 29, 2020 by Jim Murphy

While most other Las Vegas casino properties have announced at least a tentative re-opening date the Venetian has not provided any guidance other than having cancelled all reservations through May 31. That’s not surprising–at this point it looks as if the soonest that you’ll see any significant move to re-open the Las Vegas Strip will be Memorial Day weekend when Wynn Resorts is tentatively planning to get back to work. MGM Resorts has also cancelled all reservations through the end of May not only in Nevada but at all of their US properties. Treasure Island and Circus Circus are still targeting a May 15 re-opening date along with Stations Casinos, Boyd Gaming and Caesars Entertainment. All of these dates are contingent on what Governor Steve Sisolak does in terms of re-opening the state’s business community. FWIW, Sisolak has announced that he’ll unveil Nevada’s ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ on Thursday so stay tuned.

The Las Vegas Sands owned Venetian along with the neighboring Palazzo Resort has kept their plans closer to the vest than any other Nevada gaming company but now they’ve indicated that they’ll be re-opening ‘sometime after May 31’. The company released this statement about when they’ll re-open:

“Our company will continue to adhere to guidance provided by the state of Nevada, as we look to data to inform our decision on when best to open our doors to guests and Team Members. It is not prudent to set an opening date without the appropriate data to support it.”

The more interesting news coming out of the Venetian camp involves their plan to maintain ‘social distancing’ and otherwise protect the health of property employees, guests and the larger community. Keep in mind that this isn’t The Venetian’s ‘first rodeo’ as Las Vegas Sands is heavily involved with the Macau gaming industry which is in the process of regaining some degree of normalcy.

THE VENETIAN CLEAN COMMITMENT

With a catchier name than the Wynn Resorts utilitarian titled ‘Health and Safety Plan’ the ‘Venetian Clean Commitment’ is a similar outline of how things will work when the property re-opens. Venetian has ‘seen the Wynn’s health and safety steps and raised them’. Like Wynn, they’ll screen incoming guests with thermal cameras, give personal protective equipment for employees and implement social distancing guidelines. In addition, they’ll have a rotating team of 25 EMT’s with 1/3 on site every day. These emergency medical technicians will be available 24/7 to respond to any suspected Coronavirus cases. The EMT’s will direct the guest to get the proper medical attention and any areas where the guest had been will be given ‘additional cleaning and disinfecting protocol’.

The EMT’s are a good plan. Wynn Resorts ‘health and safety’ outline makes it sound like they’ll educate their employees to recognize and deal with any suspected COVID-19 incidents. This isn’t a bad idea either, but objectively speaking having dedicated professionals on site would make me feel a lot better about patronizing the Venetian relative to the Wynn’s ‘tell your supervisor and let him deal with it’ plan. The best case scenario would be a combination of the two in which all property staff is educated on symptoms and response and instructed to call the EMT’s if they see anything.

The ‘entrance requirements’ are similar to the Wynn’s plan and essentially the same as what has been seen not only in Macau’s gaming industry but all over the region–particularly at Hong Kong restaurants. The thermal cameras will screen the temperatures of anyone entering the property–guests, staff, third party deliveries, food service, so on and so forth. If anyone shows a temperature over 100.4 degrees F they’ll get secondary screening. If they still show the high temp they’ll ‘undergo further medical assessment and directed to appropriate medical care’ and presumably not be admitted to the property.

If a guest is diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19 their suite will be taken out of service immediately. At that point, it’ll be cleaned by a ‘third party expert’ and will then be evaluated by property staff. It won’t be returned to service until it’s ‘deemed safe’ by the cleaning experts and ‘consistent with the guidance of local health authorities’. Face masks will be provided for all guests–guests can use their own face mask though ‘masks that secure the whole face are prohibited’ which is bad news if you wanted to roll up in your favorite Lucha Libre mask.

Some more bad news–no buffets at the Venetian, at least for the time being. The Wynn has also indicated that they won’t have ‘grab and go’ food available. I’d imagine that for the foreseeable future the iconic Las Vegas buffet will be relegated to history along with Sigma Derby and dry erase marker odds boards in the sportsbook.

I’d imagine that the health and safety policies at the major strip properties will all evolve quickly to the point that they’re close to identical. It’s easy to consider a lot of this blather about cleaning and protocol to be overkill but from the perspective of the gaming companies communicating that they’re taking this seriously is vitally important. At this point, there’s little they can do to convey their vigilance against COVID-19 except issue cleaning plans and press releases.

About the Author

Jim Murphy

For more than 25 years, Jim Murphy has written extensively on gambling theory and practice. Jim Murphy has been quoted in media from the Wall Street Journal to REASON Magazine. Murphy worked as a radio and podcasting host broadcasting to an international audience that depended on his expertise and advice.

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