Short Stacks: Nevada Drops Indoor Mask Mandate, SD Senate Acts on Online Sports Betting

4 min read

Nevada ends its mask mandate, a casino memorabilia show coming to Las Vegas, and South Dakota acting on online sports gambling are some of the news bits CardsChat picked up during another orbit around the poker world the past week.

casino mask sign
Visitors to card rooms in Las Vegas will soon be able to throw away their masks. (Image: KTNV)

The Governor of Nevada will lift indoor mask mandates today, joining California, New York, and Delaware in allowing its residents to go maskless in casinos and card rooms.

According to the Nevada Independent, and several other Nevada-based news sources, Gov. Steve Sisolak will announce the change during a virtual press conference about COVID at 10 am PST. In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul is also allowing her state’s mandate to expire today. Delaware’s mandate ends Friday.

And on Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsome said the state’s indoor masking requirement will end Feb. 15.

During a conference call about MGM Resorts International’s fourth-quarter earnings earlier this week, CEO Bill Hornbuckle seemed to tip the Governor’s hand. “I expect that given positive COVID trends in Nevada, we will start to see meaningful lifting of COVID restrictions in the very, very near future consistent with what we have seen in other states,” Hornbuckle said.

Despite the mask mandate, casinos in Nevada went on a pretty good winning streak in 2021 — 10 months a row pulling in at least a billion dollars.

A push for Yonkers

New York Majority House Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins wants the slots parlor MGM Empire City at Yonkers raceway to get one of the three casino licenses up for grabs in the New York Metropolitan area. 

MGM Resorts International, which owns Empire City, joins a crowded field, which is vying for the lucrative casino licenses. Empire City sits in her district. “Of course I’m going to support my hometown casino, which by the way, has done the work,” Stewart-Cousins said, according to the New York Post.

Empire City’s competitors include the Malaysian conglomerate Genting Group, UE Resorts International Inc., Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts, Rush Street Gaming, Hard Rock International, Bally’s Corporation, and the Water Club in Manhattan, according to Politico.    

New York’s Gaming Commission is expected to award the licenses later this year.

Jeff Gross parts ways with partypoker

Poker professional and Twitch streamer Jeff Gross told his Twitter followers he’s ending a three-year run streaming for partypoker. Gross said the combination of raising a small child and living in the US is forcing him to cut back on his poker streaming. 

He said he will collaborate with partypoker on future projects.  

His Twitch channel will remain active. 

“This is not a good bye, just a beginning,” he said. 

South Dakota takes a step closer to allowing online sports betting

The South Dakota senate advanced a proposal that puts the fate of online sports betting in the hands of voters. The measure passed the Senate 18-17, and will face the same stiff resistance from the 70-member house. 

If the house passes SJ 502, it will appear as a referendum on November’s ballot.

Online sports gambling is legal in South Dakota’s neighbors, Iowa and Wyoming. 

Casino memorabilia show at South Point

People who collect poker chips, playing cards, dice, matchbooks, and other gambling-related memorabilia might want to visit the 29th annual Casino Collectibles Association Show in June.

The three-day exhibition is set to run June 16 through 18 in Exhibit Hall C at South Point Casino.

More information can be found on the group’s Facebook page.


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