Las Ve­gas casi­nos are ready to roll dice again

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Ken Rit­ter

LAS VE­GAS — Free park­ing, but no valet ser­vice. Bar­tenders, black­jack deal­ers and wait­ers wear­ing masks. Hand san­i­tizer ev­ery­where.

Tourists re­turn­ing to Las Ve­gas will see changes since gam­bling stopped in midMarch for the first time ever to stem the spread of the coro­n­avirus.

The stakes could not be higher, said Robert Lang, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Brook­ings Moun­tain West think tank at the Univer­sity of Ne­vada, Las Ve­gas.

“Las Ve­gas can never be known as the place where peo­ple go and get sick,” he said.

Demo­cratic Gov. Steve Siso­lak has not set a restart date, but could at any time. Re­sort own­ers have sub­mit­ted health and safety rules to state reg­u­la­tors in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the end to the shut­down. A work­shop with op­er­a­tors and the state Gam­ing Con­trol Board is set Tues­day.

“We all know what we’ve gone through for the last 10 weeks. No one’s hav­ing fun,” said Bill Horn­buckle, act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive and pres­i­dent of casino gi­ant MGMRe­sorts In­ter­na­tional. “The sim­ple idea that I could get out, come to a re­sort, lay at a pool, en­joy a nice din­ner, sit at a black­jack ta­ble. There’s some­thing to be said for all of that.”

Many prop­er­ties have aimed for a June 1 restart in the gam­bling mecca closed al­most overnight in the mid­dle of a hot streak — three con­sec­u­tive $1 bil­lion months in statewide casino win­nings. The city had been draw­ing more than 40 mil­lion an­nual vis­i­tors.

Once given the green light, the mar­quees and the man­agers will wel­come peo­ple back to this 24/7 town. But not every re­sort will be open. Night­clubs, day­clubs and large venues will re­main closed.

Signs ev­ery­where will re­mind guests of new rules: Wash your hands; keep distance from oth­ers; limit your el­e­va­tor ride to four peo­ple.

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