As casinos in Las Vegas reopened Thursday for the first time since March amid the coronavirus pandemic, many customers gambled with their health – rolling the dice by not wearing masks and maintaining social distancing, according to reports.
“Wash your hands while saying, ‘Vegas Baby!’ 20 times,” a video marquee displayed along the famed Las Vegas Strip as hotel-casinos opened right after midnight Thursday.
Dozens of people eager to let the chips fall where they may waited impatiently at The D Casino and Hotel on Fremont Street to have their temperatures checked at the door.
The casino quickly filled with happy high rollers while a bartender danced, wearing lingerie and a surgical mask as Nevada continued its second stage of reopening.
To reopen, casinos must submit a plan to the Nevada Gaming Control Board explaining how they plan on keeping proper hygiene and social distancing, according to Business Insider.
MGM Resorts-owned Bellagio, New York-New York and other casinos planned to increase cleaning and require social distancing — but when the doors flung open, some proved better than others at enforcing safety protocols.
A swarm of customers rushed onto the gaming floor of The D, where a video posted by Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Mick Akers shows packed crowds, though dealers and dancers are wearing masks, Business Insider reported.
Many customers also ignored spacing at slot machines, but surfaces appeared to be cleaned regularly.
Hotel guests at The D — whose owner, Derek Stevens, offered free one-way flights to jumpstart the tourism recovery — were treated to free champagne at check-in and a ribbon cutting on the casino floor, USA Today reported.
Bobbi Carlisle, a truck driver from Phoenix who hoped to snag a souvenir piece, was recognized by employee as the first guest to check in that morning. The staffer pulled a memento out of his suit jacket pocket and presented it to her as a belated 60th birthday present.
“It’s just been months of us trying to get here,” Carlisle told the news outlet. “Now we’re here, and we’re so excited. We’re hoping to get a keno machine, and we’ll play there for days.”
Stevens said the visitors arriving this week tend to be younger Vegas fans who may be more comfortable traveling since older people are in a higher-risk group for severe illness related to the deadly bug.
“This will be a very fun, gregarious group,” Stevens told USA Today. “These are people that want to get out of their hometown and come visit Vegas.”
Jeff Hwang, a gambling enthusiast and blogger, planned to visit every casino in town that was scheduled to reopen.
He said he was given face masks, including one with a Golden Gate logo at the city’s oldest existing downtown casino.
“Walking around, not many people were using them,” he noted. “Just employees.”
Johnny Lujan, 29, flew in from Los Angeles on Wednesday so he could gamble on the first night casinos reopened.
“I love gambling,” he said before rushing, without a mask, to a $15 roulette table the second The D Casino reopened.
With Post wires