Las Vegas Casinos Can Increase Capacity in Time for Large Poker Events

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On May 1, Las Vegas casinos will be permitted to increase capacity to 80%, which comes at a perfect time to boost live poker events around town.

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Las Vegas casinos are about to get even busier than normal. (Image:

At present, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak is permitting restaurants and casinos in the state to operate at 50% of the establishment’s maximum allowed capacity, per fire code. That’s put a bit of a strain on certain businesses, but now, the state is looking to return toward normalcy, which should serve as a boost to struggling enterprises.

Sisolak had already announced that most businesses can boost capacity up to 80% come May. His pronouncement didn’t specifically include gambling establishments, however, because the Democratic governor opted to leave that decision up to the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB).

On Tuesday, the NGCB gave Clark County, home to Las Vegas, permission to also expand to 80% occupancy on the same day. The goal, however, is to get back to 100% capacity by June 1 for the first time since early March 2020. For that to happen, per county COVID-19 reopening plans, 60% of all county residents must receive at least one dose of the COVID-19 shot. Until that happens, occupancy will be restricted to 80%.

The good news for those visiting any of the numerous Las Vegas casinos in the coming weeks is that the likelihood of Clark County reaching that 60% threshold is high. More than half of the population has already received at least one dose.

A boost for casinos and players

With the Las Vegas casinos soon to be returning to 80% capacity and then, possibly, full capacity a month later, poker rooms will also be able to return to normalcy. That’s a huge deal for the city’s poker community, given the number of large events on the calendar.

Starting in May, Venetian is hosting its annual DeepStack Championship Series, which runs until early August. The series features more than 100 events, highlighted by the $5,000 buy-in WPT Venetian in July, featuring a $3 million guarantee.

Next door, Wynn will be hosting its Signature Series beginning next month, which includes one of the biggest non-WSOP events in Las Vegas history. The Wynn Millions, a $10,000 buy-in tournament guarantees a whopping $10 million guaranteed prize pool.

Events such as those likely wouldn’t be possible if not for the increased capacity permitted by the NGCB.

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