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Vegas Reopens, But What Does That Look Like Amid Nationwide Anti-Racism Protests And A Pandemic?




Socially-distanced video poker machines are shown with every other game out of service at Bellagio Resort & Casino on June 1, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Socially-distanced video poker machines are shown with every other game out of service at Bellagio Resort & Casino on June 1, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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After 78 days of historic quiet, cards will be cut, dice will roll and jackpots can jingle again 12:01 a.m. Thursday at casinos in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada. There will be big splashes — even amid ongoing protests over the death of a man in police custody in Minnesota — and big hopes for recovery from an unprecedented and expensive shutdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Casino resorts that had been famously always open were shuttered in mid-March — idling Nevada’s key tourism and hospitality industry nearly 89 years to the day since gambling was legalized in 1931. Gov. Steve Sisolak’s emergency order closed non-essential businesses to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Now, property owners, state regulators and Sisolak, a Democrat who has been criticized for the closure, are balancing those concerns against the loss of billions of dollars a month in gambling revenue and almost half a million unemployed workers. They are betting that safety measures — disinfected dice; hand sanitizer and face masks everywhere; limited numbers of players at tables; temperature checks at entrances to some resorts; touchless cellphone check-ins — will lure tourists back. So how did the roll out of reopening turn out? 

With files from the Associated Press

Guest:

Chris Sieroty, producer for KNPR in Las Vegas who’s been covering this and veteran gaming reporter; he tweets @sierotyfeatures