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Casino re-opening more than flipping switch

Nevada sportsbooks have been shut down since March 18, but the light at the end of the tunnel might be finally seen next week as a handful of books are preparing for a June 4 opening.

“That’s the target date, but we still don’t know for sure yet,” said South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews. “We have a big meeting (Wednesday) regarding our opening procedures.”

Circa Sports operations manager Jeffrey Benson said his team was waiting for a Tuesday news conference with Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak to provide more details on when the casinos can open.

“We’re going to follow the guidelines set for us by the state, but we fully intend to open both our sportsbooks at The D and the Golden Gate,” said Benson. 

While opening the book for over-the-counter action is basically a flip of the switch and putting a body on the line to take the bets, the dilemma now is creating a safe environment for all.

“Our initial priorities will be to make sure each of our employees and customers are safe during transactions,” Andrews said. “The ticket writer and bettor are always close together during transactions so we’ll have a mask for the writers and disinfectant at each window and also spread the chairs in the viewing area with large gaps in between.”

Andrews said they would not have clear plexiglass between the writers and guests as some of the grocery stores have done. Circa Sports won’t have any barrier, either, but they’re also creating some social distancing.

“We’ll see what is mandated, but we will do things like have every other kiosk open like the slot machines and have ticket writers work at every other window,” Benson said. 

One thing the South Point has been famous for since opening is being open 24 hours and they’ll continue it from the restart.

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“We’ll have minimal staffing with two writers working each shift so they can break and have lunch, but (owner) Michael (Gaughan) wants us to be ready for being open 24 hours,” Andrews said.

Andrews said they had a nice uptick in action over the weekend with the golf match featuring Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady, as well as NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600.

“Golf handle was good and we needed the winners so it worked out well and NASCAR has been good as well,” Andrews said. “We’re booking all the races and people are betting them all.” 

The South Point and Circa books have both had their phones apps open and offering curbside service in valet parking for transactions while the book is closed and both have had success with it showing that Las Vegas bettors are itching to bet.

“We’ve done the curbside service for a few weeks now and have seen a 10-to-15 percent increase in sign-ups from what we previously had,” said Benson, who also noted that guests can sign up curbside for their football contests as well.