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“Shut up, and put your money where your mouth is. That’s what you get for waking up in Vegas.”

That is the chorus in Katy Perry’s “Waking Up In Vegas,” a song that boomed out of the speakers as guests waited for the Flamingo to open its doors Thursday morning. When the chains came off the doors around 9:36 a.m., guests started trickling into the front entrance soon after.

It wasn’t long before the first craps table filled up. The table’s energy was vibrant, despite a lack of six-foot social distancing at the table. As a player throws five crispy blue-note Benjamin Franklins on the table, he’s greeted with an “All you California guys are out here,” by another player.

His response? “We were open first,” which was followed by a big laugh between the two men. A playful, humanizing interaction suggesting what many consider Las Vegas to be about: enjoying yourself.

The new normal, filled with extra safety precautions, was visible. Slot machine sanitizing wipes placed at each slot station, dealers seen patting-off sanitized chips and employees readjusting their masks.

Despite these heightened precautions, some guests felt comfortable without a mask. When offered masks from employees at the check-in line, some guests replied with an emphatic “sure,” suggesting that they may have gone their stay without wearing one.

The excitement around the check-in line seemed indicative of guests’ willingness to return. When asked about his decision to show up on the Flamingo’s reopening day, Mario Rodriguez, a visitor from California, said: “We wanted to see what the vibe was like. Plus, my family had the itch to gamble.”

With it being June, it wouldn’t of been a summer in Vegas without stopping by the pool. The staff was ready to go for their opening day. At this moment they’re expecting a busy weekend.

Ultimately, the optimism surrounding today’s reopening was summed up by Candy Chu, a resident Las Vegas resident.

“Were not going anywhere,” she said. “I’ve been here my whole life and I know we’re going to come back stronger.”

Welcome back, Vegas. We missed you.

About the Author

Sebastian Ross

Sebastian Ross covers casino promotions and the Las Vegas gaming industry scene for Gaming Today. The Las Vegas native currently attends the William S. Boyd School of Law at UNLV.

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