Casino regulators seek coronavirus fines in 3 Nevada cases

July 30, 2020 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — State casino regulators are seeking fines against two casinos and a bowling alley in rural Nevada, alleging that employees and patrons failed to comply with requirements including a mandate for people to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Nevada Gaming Control Board spokesman Michael Lawton said Wednesday that confidentiality rules prevent the agency from making public details of 156 open investigations or names of entities unless formal complaints are filed with the state Gaming Commission.

Records showed that complaints were filed since last Friday against C.O.D. Casino in Minden and the Hotel Nevada & Gambling Hall in Ely.


Representatives of each property declined telephone requests Wednesday for comment.

The complaints in each case allege that during repeat visits held several days apart state inspectors saw employees and patrons without face coverings or wearing them improperly.

At the Hotel Nevada, a regulator noted that casino employees approached customers while an agent was taking photos and appeared to tell them to don face coverings.

A third complaint filed Tuesday named Bowl Incline on the Lake Tahoe shoreline, where owner Curt Wegener said he was unaware until a gaming control agent visited his bowling alley bar on July 11 that Gov. Steve Sisolak had rolled back permission for bar areas to be open, effective midnight July 10.

The regulator noted bar-top slot machines were on and available for play, the complaint said.

Wegener said he immediately complied with the closure order and felt frustrated by rule changes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re trying to do everything right, keep the doors open and keep people working,” he said.

Sisolak on Monday announced that bars in four counties — including those encompassing Las Vegas and Reno — would remain closed until at least next week, and said the state would adopt a new approach to more closely monitor the spread of the coronavirus so that more businesses could open.

The governor also called for stricter enforcement of his orders for people to keep at least 6 feet (1.8 meters) apart and wear face coverings in public.

The control board, with about 300 inspectors statewide, has conducted more than 10,000 inspections since the governor allowed gambling to resume June 4 following a more than two-month closure he imposed March 17 to prevent people from gathering and spreading illness.

Nevada has about 450 non-restricted gambling license holders like casinos, and nearly 2,000 restricted licensees like bars, gas stations and supermarkets with 15 or fewer slot machines.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.


This story corrects the number of non-restricted gambling license holders, about 450, not nearly 2,000, and the number of restricted licensees with 15 or fewer slot machines to nearly 2,000, not 450.