Nevada gaming agents file disciplinary complaints against three locations for COVID-19 safety violations

July 29, 2020 11:18 AM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
July 29, 2020 11:18 AM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has filed disciplinary actions against three Northern Nevada gaming operators for violating state health and safety policies that were implemented due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Two of the complaints involve casinos, Hotel Nevada in Ely and C.O.D. Casino in Minden. The third complaint was filed against Incline Bowl in Incline Village, which is a non-restricted license holder. The gaming operators face penalties ranging from a monetary fine to a loss of their gaming license.

The violations against the casinos involve employees and patrons not wearing face masks, which were made mandatory statewide by the governor in late June. The bowling center was cited for not turning off its bar top slot machines follow the governor’s directive to close stand-alone bars and bar top areas inside restaurants and taverns in seven counties on July 10. Most restricted gaming operators have their slot machines embedded in bar tops.

The Nevada Gaming Commission will make the final determination on the penalty.

In a statement Tuesday, the Control Board said it has opened 156 regulatory cases statewide, relating to non-compliance with the protocols and policies implemented by the agency and approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission. The three complaints arose from the investigations.

Board agents have conducted more than 10,135 inspections and observations since gaming was restarted in Nevada on June 4 following a 78-day shutdown in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Any information prepared or obtained by the Control Board relating to a licensee’s compliance with the policies is confidential unless a complaint is filed.

“The Gaming Control Board has never shied away from its duty to strictly regulate licensed gaming, and the same is true for the enforcement of Gov. Sisolak’s emergency directives and the Board’s health and safety policies,” Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Douglass Morgan said in a statement. “The Board will present cases to the Nevada Gaming Commission against licensees to ensure that public health and safety remains a priority for the gaming industry.”

The largest property cited was the Hotel Nevada in Ely, a historic rural Nevada location with 64 hotel rooms and a 3,000-square-foot casino.

The three-count complaint involves three Hotel Nevada employees and seven customers who were seen not wearing face coverings while on the casino floor, as required by the governor’s directive, according to a state gaming agent. The property’s general manager was informed of the violations, but customers did not comply with the request that instructed the employees and customers to wear masks.

A one-count complaint was filed against C.O.D., a small casino with more than 260 slot machines, for a similar violation. The property’s shift manager and slot employee were not wearing masks more than a month after the governor’s directive, according to a state gaming agent.

According to the one-count complaint against Incline Bowl, a state gaming agent said the location’s bar top slot machines were still operational, with chairs in front of every other machine, a day after they were supposed to be taken out of service.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at hstutz@cdcgaming.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.