It’s been a couple of weeks since Las Vegas was shut down in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and the Nevada Gaming Control Board is already drawing up safety plans for when the state’s casinos finally reopen. The policies guidance specifies a number of safety protocols for patrons and staff, as well as social distancing measures that will impose a limit of four players per poker table.
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Social Distancing for Table Games and Gaming Machines
Casino operators will have to ensure that the floor plans for their gaming machines will allow for proper social distancing. The example in the guidance suggested that patrons only be permitted to use every other slot machine so that they don’t end up sitting too near each other.
Depending on the layout of table games, there will be different restrictions imposed on the number of players that can join a game. In the guidance, the following limits are suggested:
- Three players per blackjack table
- Six players per craps table
- Four players per roulette table
- Four players per poker table
This is quite a significant decrease from the current table maximums at Las Vegas casinos. So, you’ll be seeing a lot fewer people on the gaming floor once casinos reopen, but can rest assured that your safety is important to gambling venue operators.
Other Safety Measures
In addition to enforcing social distancing, casino operators will be required to display signage that reminds both employees and patrons of proper hygiene. Staff will have to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, as required by federal, state or local authorities, as well.
Before opening, all gambling venues are required to clean and disinfect all hard and soft surfaces in accordance with CDC guidelines. Operators must also establish disinfecting protocols, and ensure that all staff are properly trained on these new rules.
Does Fewer Players Mean Looser Games?
The introduction of limits on the number of players at table games in Las Vegas Casinos won’t have an effect on games like blackjack and roulette, but it does have the potential to change the dynamic for poker games. At a typical full-ring game, players tend to be a bit tighter, so it’s very likely that four-max tables will have much looser player.
With five fewer players than in a full-ring table, you’re going to be playing against three players maximum. This means that you’ll probably have more players seeing the flop and less players folding early on. So, we could see a new era of poker strategies emerge in response to these changes.
The NGCB is working hard to ensure that casinos and gaming venues across Nevada will be safe to visit once the spread of COVID-19 has slowed enough for the state to reopen, and these policies are a good start. It will be very interesting to see how this guidance is put into practice on the Las Vegas strip when casinos finally open their doors again.