Land-based casinos in the United States have been under pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Operating under restrictions has meant a severe downturn in revenue for many of the biggest and most popular USA casinos.
An at times confusing set of new rules and regulations has meant that many brick-and-mortar casinos in the US have had to adapt, and not all of them have done successfully. Las Vegas’ Aria Casino has found that out the hard way this week after they were hit with a $12,000 fine.
A Failure to Maintain Safety Rules
Allegedly, the Aria Casino in Las Vegas has been issued with a $12,000 fine for a violation of the OSHA (Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration) regulations during the pandemic. In recent months, the OSHA has stepped up the number of citations and fines it has issued in response to several growing COVID-19 violations. While an extensive list of safety protocols has been issued in Nevada, not all the businesses have been eager to implement them, or at least do so to a level deemed necessary by the body. Aria Casino has reportedly fallen short.
What Are the Rules?
In practice, hotels and casinos are only allowed to operate at half-capacity. Regular Covid-19 testing for employees, as well as hand sanitiser stations and social distancing requirements, have been made the norm. On top of that, digitalized food and drink menus, and electrostatic sprayers have been recommended to casinos and resorts.
Plexiglass screens between players are another of the requirements mentioned, with some table games limited to three players per hand. Onlookers have also been banned from standing behind them. This is not without precedent or urgency, as Wynn Las Vegas has reported almost 550 positive cases amongst its employees since June.
Entertainments and shows are also under strict restrictions, with many events and tourist groups cancelled. Other attractions at Las Vegas’ casinos and resorts, as well as those in Atlantic City and elsewhere, are subject to differing requirements.
MGM Launches Response Contesting the Decision
It is not apparent which violations the Aria Casino in Las Vegas is alleged to have broken. The casino’s owner, MGM Resorts, has already announced its decision to contest the fine. It claims that the Aria has been complying with the restrictions and has a seven-point safety plan which ensures that it does so.
The Aria is not the first casino to suffer citations, with over 175 handed out to casinos since March. The OSHA claims that compliance rates are around 90% in Northern Nevada, dropping to 87% in Southern Nevada. Las Vegas is currently ranked as second in the list of least compliant regions, second only to Reno.