Update: On June 17, the Nevada Gaming Control Board made mask usage mandatory at any table game or poker table that does not have a partition between each player and the dealer. On June 26, mask usage became required at all Nevada casinos and most other venues open to the public.
Mask use is the most common question I have been asked since Las Vegas reopened. The CDC advises wearing one in all public places to slow the spread of COVID-19, especially when social distancing is impossible.
Nevada casinos encourage guests to comply with the CDC mask guideline. However, many Las Vegas tourists want it to feel like normal times during their escape from home after the closures and do not wear one.
My wife and I visited every open Las Vegas Strip and downtown casino to survey mask usage. The Strip was covered during the afternoon and early evening hours on Friday, June 12. Downtown Las Vegas data was collected during the same hours on Saturday, June 13.
This survey was created to determine the accuracy of suggestions that mask usage in Las Vegas casinos is around 10 percent. No casinos we visited were that low, though three were in the teens. Four were over 50 percent.
How we collected the data
On the north end of the Las Vegas Strip and downtown, we counted the first 20 table game and 30 slot players we saw, when possible. At large Las Vegas Strip properties, 40 table game and 60 slot players were counted. This usually covered a majority, and in a few cases, almost entirety of patrons on the casino floor. If there were not enough table players, the number was completed with those at slots.
Mask usage leaned slightly more towards slot players in most cases. The exceptions were generally casinos with a table game requirement for it.
We made sure to not include any employees. A player needed to be seated in action at a table or slot to be counted. If a player was smoking or drinking and had a mask visible, we counted that as a mask user.
These numbers are only from the main casino floor. Guests at bars, high limit salons or poolside gaming were not included.
We tried to count only one type of table game each in the data. Some casinos did not have a variety of open table games so it may include multiple tables of the same game. This helped portray an accurate number at casinos that have mask requirements at table games without plexiglass.
Las Vegas Strip mask usage
The Las Vegas Strip has some mask rules. Caesars Entertainment casinos require all table game players to wear a mask. MGM Resorts requires one at roulette and craps. There are no plexiglass dividers between the players and employees at these tables. We are not aware of any other casinos with mask policies other than it being encouraged.
These table game rules explain why casinos under these two companies appear towards the top of the list.
Las Vegas Strip mask usage average: 39%
- Linq: 72%
- Caesars Palace: 67%
- Harrah’s: 65%
- Flamingo: 57%
- MGM Grand: 40%
- The Strat: 40%
- Bellagio: 38%
- Circus Circus: 34%
- Excalibur: 34%
- Wynn: 30%
- New York-New York: 29%
- Sahara: 26%
- Venetian: 24%
- Treasure Island: 16%
- Cosmopolitan: 16%
Downtown Las Vegas mask usage
There are no mask requirements at any downtown Las Vegas casino. All encourage its use.
Downtown Las Vegas mask usage average: 28%
- Binion’s: 36%
- Fremont: 36%
- California: 34%
- The D: 30%
- Downtown Grand: 28%
- El Cortez: 28%
- Four Queens: 28%
- Golden Nugget: 24%
- Plaza: 24%
- Golden Gate: 12%
Venetian poker room mask usage
The Venetian operates the only open poker room on the Strip. It was impossible to get an accurate count for mask use by players due to all the activity. All tables were in use. It was somewhat chaotic while still adhering to social distancing and the five-player table limit.
Every active table had at least one player with a mask. A majority had two. I did not see any that had three or more. I estimate the mask usage in the Venetian poker room to be around one-third at the time of my visit.