NGCB Now Requiring Face Masks at Table Games

A policy change by the Nevada Gaming Control Board will now require table game players to wear face masks inside Las Vegas casinos. There is one exception to the rule, however: if barriers are in place, face coverings aren’t required. This rule also applies to poker.

Las Vegas casinos

Las Vegas casinos such as Bellagio (pictured) must now require face masks at table games. (Image: CNN)

Nevada’s casinos were permitted to reopen on June 4, although many still remain closed. In Las Vegas, most casinos on the Strip, including the MGM-owned Aria, Mandalay Bay, and Luxor, will be open by July 1.

Reopening weekend in Las Vegas was a success in the eyes of many casino operators. Crowds were larger than expected, especially downtown on Fremont Street. Many table game pits were also quite packed. Poker rooms were also busier than expected.

Granted, only four card rooms out of 31 in Vegas were open. The poker rooms at Caesars, Sahara, and Bellagio reopened on Thursday. Aria’s popular card room is expected to return early next month.

The larger-than-expected crowds at the Las Vegas casinos over the past two weeks attracted the NGCB’s attention and, as a result, officials are now requiring players to wear face coverings while playing table and poker games.

Casinos Forced to Make Changes

As CardsChat News noted during the reopening weekend, face masks weren’t prevalent inside Las Vegas casinos. Some players wore face coverings, but they were only a small percentage of casino patrons. Most casinos haven’t required face masks for anyone but employees. Caesars Palace, however, has been requiring table game players to wear them since reopening on June 4.

The NGCB is stepping in to ensure that everyone, at every table game, wears a face mask. That is unless partitions such as plexiglass dividers are in place, separating players from each other and the dealer. Otherwise, every player and employee in the gaming pits must wear a face covering.

This rule also applies to poker. Caesars Palace, which reopened its card room on Thursday, already required players to wear face masks. No other poker room has instituted the same rule, though every room has been requiring dealers to cover their faces.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone wear a face mask in public to help limit the spread of COVID-19, whether you’re headed to the grocery store, out to dinner, or to a casino.

Most health experts claim wearing a face mask helps prevent spreading the virus to someone else. The experts also claim that face masks only have a minimal impact on preventing the wearer from catching the virus from someone else. Thus, the reason Nevada’s board is now stepping in to now protect both dealers and players alike.

If everyone wears a face mask in public, the CDC claims, we can limit the spread of the coronavirus. If only the dealers wear a face covering, the players are the only ones who are protected.

Jon Sofen
Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.

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