WATCH: Gamblers cheered outside a Las Vegas casino shortly after midnight on June 4, as the city reopened casinos for the first time in 78 days, since the coronavirus lockdown shuttered them in March, according to reports.
This video was taken at the D Casino & Hotel in Nevada a few minutes after midnight. According to reports, the business’s owner gave away 2,000 airline tickets for visitors to fly to Las Vegas, and discounted hotel rooms.
The coronavirus pandemic had frozen the hospitality and entertainment industry in Las Vegas. In April, the number of visitors to Las Vegas fell 97 percent, local station KVVU reported.
Crowds of people flocked to Las Vegas casinos as they began reopening this week after coronavirus lockdown procedures forced them to shut off their slot machines and shut down their gaming tables on March 17.
But the places where people go to bet their money and try out their luck look much different than before, with staff wearing medical masks, hand-washing stations littering the colourful halls and plexiglass separating guests and employees.
Nonetheless, tourists and eager gamblers showed up in droves, standing still to have their temperature taken and outfitting themselves in gloves and masks.
To reopen, Business Insider reports, casinos are required to submit a plan to the Nevada Gaming Control Board explaining how they’ll be encouraging proper hygiene and enforcing social distancing — by shutting off every other slot machine, for example.
MGM resorts — including Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and New York-New York — are enacting a “Seven-Point Safety Plan,” calling for employee screening, social distancing, cleaning protocols and hand-washing stations. Employees must wear masks, while guests won’t be unless they are at roulette tables, Business Insider says.
Not all casinos were as strict about rules, however. In a video shared by journalist Mick Ackers, the gaming floor of The D casino was packed with people not adhering to social distancing or wearing masks.
Ackers also shared pictures of slot-machine rows full of people sitting right next to each other. Representatives for the casino didn’t respond immediately to Insider’s request for comment.
The D owner Derek Stevens offered free one-way flights to kick-start the casino’s opening party, USA Today reported. Guests got free flutes of champagne and there was a ribbon-cutting. The ribbon read: “I was there! 6-4-20 Re-opening las Vegas!”
So far, 23 casinos have reopened, including The Flamingo, The Cosmopolitan, Golden Nugget, El Cortez, The Plaza and more, KVVU-TV reports.
Jodi Williams, of Las Vegas, who wanted to come and see the grand reopening, plays a slot machine at Bellagio hotel-casino on June 4, 2020, in Las Vegas.