Nevada Casinos Potentially Risk Citations, Fines if They Violate Reopening Rules

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Las Vegas gaming properties will begin to resume operations starting within a week after casinos promised in reopening plans to enact safeguards against possible spread of coronavirus. But what will happen if venues fail to carry out the state’s required or suggested precautions?

It appears that Nevada gaming officials could issue citations and possibly even impose fines if strict rules are not followed.

I assume that the enforcement division of the Gaming Control Board will be using field agents to inspect the various casinos for compliance purposes,” Anthony Cabot, Distinguished Fellow of Gaming Law at UNLV’s Boyd School of Law, told, when asked about possible inquiries. “Any violations can result in a verbal warning, multiple levels of letter warnings, or a formal complaint.”

Cabot, a veteran attorney and former chair of the gaming law practice group at Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, further points out that the gaming board “sought and obtained the approval of the Nevada Gaming Commission related to its health and safety requirements for the casinos. As the [Gaming] Commission can adopt emergency regulations, the gaming industry will and should respond by assuming that a violation of these standards will be a regulatory violation, and subject them to potential disciplinary [action] by the Commission.”

Such disciplinary actions “could include a fine of up to $100,000 per incident or suspension or revocation of the license,” Cabot explained.

Updated health and safety guidance issued by the gaming board on Wednesday did not specify what will happen if violations take place. The board’s policy often provides suggestions for casinos to follow rather than provides specific rules. The board also encourages casinos to implement additional safeguards that go beyond those in the policy.

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