Wynn cheers guests as casino re-opens

Wynn Las Vegas employees — standing six feet apart — lined the walkway at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the main entrance and cheered as customers returned to the casino for the first time in nearly three months.

Guests seemed to revel in the greeting, and casino employees appeared to be happy to be at work.

When one of those guests, Tim Hayden, realized Las Vegas would be open for business this week, he decided he had to be there — even if that meant leaving his home in the Los Angeles area at 4 a.m.

“I usually come to Vegas 10 times a year,” Hayden said. “When I heard this was going to happen, I immediately booked a room. I needed my fix.”

The Wynn was originally scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. but pushed its time back to mid-morning in the wake of recent protests in Las Vegas in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.

The casino floor was sparsely populated early on with employees seeming to outnumber patrons. Signs urging guests to practice social distancing and proper cleaning habits were numerous, and all Wynn employees wore facemasks.

Most gaming tables had plexiglass barriers in front of the dealer and between players. Blackjack and roulette tables were seating three players at a time. Bottles of hand sanitizer were placed on every table, and large canisters containing sanitizing wipes were positioned near banks of slot machines.

Dealers were sanitizing chips at tables each hour. Every other monitor in rows of slot and video poker machines were turned off, and some chairs had been removed.

A bartender disinfected video poker machines after each use.

Seats in the sportsbook had been placed six feet apart. Some video screens and chairs at tables had been removed to allow for distancing.

Still, horse player Tony Caporale, who has been coming to the Wynn since it opened, said it didn’t seem that different.

“I just got here and haven’t walked around much,” he said. “The tables being far apart and people wearing masks are the only differences, really.”

Caporale was more concerned with not being able to bet on races at Churchill Downs due to a contract disagreement between the track and Nevada’s Pari-Mutuel Association.

Elevators were limited to four people, and a sign posted at the buffet announced a new-look return planned for later this summer.

As guests slowly streamed in, some sat at tables and others headed to registration. But most walked around looking at the inside of a casino for the first time since March.

About the Author

Ched Whitney

Ched Whitney has been a journalist in Las Vegas since 1994. He worked for the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 18 years, where he was the paper’s art director for 12. Since becoming a freelancer in 2012, his work has appeared at ESPN.com, AOL, The Seattle Times and UNLV Magazine, among others. ​

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