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As one gaming consultant forecasts some Las Vegas casinos may not be ready to reopen until 2021, the Nevada Gaming Control Board Monday issued a new rule that requires casinos that remain closed by July 6 to surrender their license or request to remain closed for a longer period. 

The directive comes as Gov. Steve Sisolak on Monday ordered that Nevada will remain its second phase of reopening through the end of July. The directive was set to end June 30, but COVID-19 infections have been increasing, prompting Sisolak last week to mandate masks be worn indoors in public areas, including casinos. 

Regulations require a licensee that ceases gaming for a period exceeding one month to surrender their license or obtain authorization from the board to remain closed for a longer period. Current gaming regulations don’t permit closing for an entire calendar quarter. 

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The Palms Casino Resort and Tropicana Las Vegas are among properties that remain closed. Several local properties also remained shuttered though others are reopening this week in what’s expected to be a busy Fourth of July weekend. Gaming consulting Josh Swissman said casinos have had a rolling opening of properties starting June 4 to stabilize hotel rates. He suggested some may not be ready to open until 2021, possibly mid-year. 

The board said it will calculate that period starting June 4 when Las Vegas casinos were authorized to reopen from the COVID-19 shutdown. Board member Terry Johnson hinted at the change at Thursday’s Nevada Gaming Commission hearing. 

“We anticipate still some properties that might take a little longer to open and that might present administrative issues and we may need the Commission to assist for those to stay closed longer,” Johnson said.

About the Author

Buck Wargo

Buck Wargo is a former journalist with the Los Angeles Times and has been based in Las Vegas as a business, real estate and gaming reporter since 2005.

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