Category Archives: Las Vegas Casinos

Gaming Control Board Requires Table Games Players to Wear Masks

These are surreal times, and here’s more evidence: Nevada’s Gaming Control Board is now mandating guests wear masks at casino table games when there’s no barrier between themselves and dealers.

The move has the stated purpose of “mitigating the spread of COVID-19 between people who are in close contact with each other for at least 15 minutes.”

Las Vegas smizing

This is not a customer customer, but you get the idea.

The mandate came down from the Gaming Control Board on June 17, 2020, and casinos immediately began enforcing the new rule.

The new mask rule applies only to those patrons who are playing table games. Masks are recommended, but not mandatory, for other casino guests.

Casinos are required to provide masks for table games players upon request.

Bellagio Plexiglas dividers

Some of the aforementioned barriers.

Casino employees, including dealers, are already required to wear masks. The new protocol began when Las Vegas casinos reopened after a two-month shutdown on June 4, 2020.

Here’s a look at the notice from the Gaming Control Board.

Table games masks

Gaming should try Comic Sans, just to change this up a little.

The mask requirement “applies to table and card game players, spectators and any other person within six feet of any table or card game.”

Also falling firmly into the “surreal” category, the notice also included this gem: “Musical performances, live entertainment, concerts, competitions, sporting events, and any events with live performances may resume, but shall remain closed for public attendance.”

As with everything that’s happened around the COVID-19 crisis, casino guests seem to be taking these restrictions in stride. It’s created some chaos for casinos, but they understand the need to make their guests feel comfortable and safe.

Everyone understands these changes in Las Vegas casinos are temporary. And the temporarier the better.

More Las Vegas Casinos Coming Back Online Sooner Than Expected

While Vegas isn’t completely back, it’s getting there.

Strong demand is causing major casinos to scrap their worst-case-scenario reopening schedules.

Among the recent announcements, MGM Resorts says it will open Excalibur on June 11, 2020. It was originally slated to open July 1.

Excalibur Las Vegas

Welcome back, you kitschy thing, you.

Luxor opens June 25, 2020, along with The Shoppes at Mandalay Bay Place.

Aria, Mandalay Bay and its hotel-within-a-hotel Four Seasons, reopen July 1, 2020.

Already open in the MGM Resorts family are Bellagio, MGM Grand and New York-New York.

Bellagio Conservatory

Bellagio reopened with yet another badass new Conservatory display.

On the Caesars Entertainment side, the company said it will open the casino at Linq on June 12. Linq’s hotel and parking garage will remain closed for the time being.

Already open are Caesars Palace, Flamingo and Harrah’s.

Las Vegas casinos reopened on June 4, 2020, a day that will be remembered as the one where we cashed in our 401(k) to support all the casino employees out of work for 78 agonizing days.

And that’s the story we’re sticking to.

As more casino resorts come online, there are still a lot of questions about demand.

While the opening weekend was strong, there are substantial challenges related to the lack of conventions and international travel. We talked about opening weekend on Fox Business News.

Scott Roeben Fox Business News

Yes, we were on Fox Business News. We’re a pretty big deal, and it’s rude of you to suggest otherwise.

Las Vegas is feeling more like Las Vegas with each passing day. Visitors just need to adjust their expectations, as not all offerings (like restaurants, nightclubs and shows) will be available just yet.

We can’t wait to play at our favorite places again, so it’s great to see so many casinos reopening sooner than expected.

World Series of Poker 2020 to Take Place Online

The best-known poker tournament series in the world, the World Series of Poker (WSOP), will happen entirely online this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The World Series of Poker, which typically happens at Rio Las Vegas, may have been postponed, but now players will have a chance to pursue a coveted WSOP bracelet from home for the first time.

The online WSOP will take place over two months, starting July 1, 2020. There will be 85 WSOP bracelets up for grabs.

WSOP’s biggest event, the No Limit Hold’em Championship, starts July 31.

WSOP chips

It won’t be the same this year, but how many things are?

WSOP predicts this will be “the largest online tournament series of all time” with the “chance to win gold bracelet glory across two distinct gaming platforms, WSOP.com and GGPoker.”

The initial phase of the tournament will include one bracelet event per day during July on WSOP.com.

Caveat: WSOP.com allows play from customers geo-located in Nevada and New Jersey.

WSOP dogs

Yes, we took this photo of dogs playing poker at the World Series of Poker. Herding cats is easier.

On July 19, 2020, bracelet tournaments will take place on GGPoker Network. This is the first time players outside the U.S. have been able to complete for an official WSOP bracelet online. (U.S. players can’t take part in the GGPoker tournaments.) The international series runs through September 6, 2020.

According to the WSOP, GGPoker just wrapped up its WSOP Online Circuit Event, with a total series prize pool of more than $134 million.

Clearly, poker’s still a thing.

Find out more about the World Series of Poker Online tournament at the WSOP’s official Web site.

It’s going to be a strange summer in Las Vegas, but it would’ve been even stranger without the World Series of Poker.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 110: Let’s Vegas Again

Let’s talk about the reopening of Vegas, finally!

There’s so much good news, we’re going to have our podcast let out. What does that even mean? Who the hell knows? The bottom line: We get to gamble again!

In this episode, we chat with Derek Stevens, owner of The D and Golden Gate, about giving away 2,000 free flights to Las Vegas.

Derek Stevens

Thanks to Derek Stevens for being on our podcast and sorry about the parts where we talk.

We also get a sneak preview of plans for Ahern Hotel, formerly the Lucky Dragon.

Chef Marc Sgrizzi talks about his new restaurant, Chef Marc’s Italian Steakhouse, and also tells us how to pronounce his name.

Chef Marc's Italian Steakhouse

Ahern Hotel has some sexy stuff in store.

We’ve got all the latest scoop you won’t hear anywhere else, and some scoop we heard elsewhere but changed just enough to avoid getting into too much trouble.

Don’t miss our hastily slapped-together listicle, “11 Things We’re Doing on June 4.” Hint: They all involve gambling and drinking. Shocker.

It’s the podcast your mother would’ve warned you about if she weren’t so busy reading your diary.

Take a listen!

All Fremont Street Casinos Open June 4, Fremont Street Experience on June 3

All the casinos along Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas have confirmed they’ll open on June 4, 2020.

That sound you hear is this blog becoming fully engorged.

Fremont Street

Let’s Fremont again.

The casinos along Fremont Street are The D, Golden Gate, Plaza, Golden Nugget, Fremont, Binion’s and Four Queens.

Just-off-Fremont Downtown Grand and The Cal will also open on June 4.

In the case of some casinos, not all dining options or other amenities will be available upon reopening. The casinos and bars are really the important things, anyway.

As for the Fremont Street Experience pedestrian mall, officials say they’ll be open on June 3 at 9:00 a.m.

Fun fact: Virtually no one has ever gotten up early enough to see Fremont Street Experience at 9:00 a.m. If they have, they’re doing Vegas wrong.

Fremont Street closed

There’s a light at the end of the sad.

At the moment, the newly-renovated Viva Vision video screen, is playing a countdown to the reopening of casinos downtown and on The Strip. Specifically, June 4 at 12:01 a.m.

While the Fremont Street Experience mall opens June 3, it will do so without its signature live bands. Announcement of the venue’s free summer concert series was derailed by the COVID-19 crisis, and there’s been no word as to whether any of the planned concerts will happen this year.

In related news, the SlotZilla zipline will reopen on June 4 at 4:00 p.m.

SlotZilla Las Vegas

Time flies when you’re in lockdown. Welcome back, SlotZilla.

Demand is expected to be strong downtown (including ours) upon reopening. The buzz is hotels both downtown and on The Strip are receiving unexpected levels of room bookings, despite the fact hotels and casinos are currently limited to 50% occupancy.

Downtown Las Vegas is much less reliant on conventions and Asian visitors than The Strip, so it’s expected downtown could recover more quickly than other destinations.

We are personally going to leave our stimulus money in a variety of slot machines and bars along Fremont the minute they reopen. You know, to support Las Vegas. We’re selfless like that.

Casino Owner Gives Away 2,000 Free Flights to Las Vegas

Derek Stevens, owner of The D, Golden Gate and the under-construction Circa Las Vegas, gave away 2,000 flights to Las Vegas to help kick-start visitation and support airline travel following the COVID-19 shutdown.

Las Vegas casinos have been closed since March 18, but many will reopen on June 4, 2020.

Stevens initially offered up 1,000 free flights on May 27, 2020, but those were snatched up within a couple of hours. Another 1,000 flights were made available later in the day. Travelers grabbed those almost immediately as well.

Derek Stevens

Derek Stevens just sort of gets it.

Derek Stevens made it clear those who took advantage of the free flights did not have to stay at his Las Vegas casinos, although many booked rooms at The D and Golden Gate.

Reservation lines were overwhelmed, and many folks on the company’s player development team (VIP hosts) took to the phones to assist reservations staff. They still couldn’t keep up with the demand.

Demand, of course, has been a big question of late. Casinos across the country have seen record revenue since they’ve reopening, but some have questioned how quickly Las Vegas visitation will recover, or if it will at all.

Given our own level of pent up demand, we suspect Vegas will see a healthy level of visitation right out of the gate. Hotels, casinos and restaurants will be limited to 50% capacity, however.

Here’s one last look at an empty Longbar at The D. Let’s hope we never see this again.

Longbar empty

The end of the sadness is near. Or “nigh,” if you’re fancy.

We did a complete walk-through of The D’s empty casino, so check it out.

While our usually reliable contacts at The D aren’t talking, we’re putting the over/under for the 2,000 one-way flights giveaway at $250,000.

As for the nearby Circa Las Vegas resort, it’s looking gorgeous.

Circa Golden Gate

Downtown’s oldest casino, Golden Gate, blends seamlessly with Circa, the newest. Bottom line: We should win far more awards for this blog.

Construction of Circa, set to cost in the neighborhood of $1.2 billion, has continued throughout the shutdown, so the new resort is on pace to open as planned in December 2020.

Circa’s floors are about two thirds built out, and it’s already the tallest structure in downtown Las Vegas.

Circa Las Vegas

Our future home away from home, Circa.

It now appears the majority of casinos in downtown Las Vegas will open June 4, 2020.

The D’s hotel will open June 3, with the casino opening one minute after they’re allowed to, per Derek Stevens.

We’ll see you at Longbar one minute after that.