Last week, Clark County Commissioners suspended requirements related to how some privileged business licenses operate. Most are related to the operations of a casino-resort. The suspension is in effect until mid-July.
The news was reported at the time by local outlets. However, its significance went largely unnoticed.
The requirements that were suspended are related to what a business designated as a resort must do to comply with its licensing terms in unincorporated Clark County, which includes the Las Vegas Strip and much of the locals market. This includes a minimum number of hotel rooms, bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.
Clark County Code 8.04.010.145 lists these requirements for businesses known as unrestricted licenses. It includes the minimum requirements for a resort designation:
- One main bar
- One service bar
- Entertainment policy requiring acts to perform at least six days a week in a small venue or at least six times a year in a large one
- 24-hour restaurant with full-service and at least 50 seats
- Room service
- Recreational facilities like pools, tennis courts or golf courses
In other words, there will be no requirement for bars, restaurants, fitness centers, pools or showrooms to be open when the resorts get the green light to welcome guests again.
This gives more evidence that when Las Vegas reopens, the resorts will be more gambling-centric than before the pandemic. Las Vegas will look more like the old days before amenities took over as the top revenue generator on the Strip.
It seems highly unlikely shows that draw large crowds will return for months, if not years. The typical entertainment in the COVID-19 era will be small comedy clubs and magic shows.
Casinos will likely remain open 24 hours as before. However, table game pits may close overnight or not reopen at all in the first phase, depending on the casino. At least some casinos, probably most, will spread table games. There will be some limitations though, as I addressed in an earlier column.
Casinos will not be obligated to open bars. This would help with social distancing. I do not think this means there will be no drink service. Service bars will likely be open even if main bars are not.
Players that prefer nighttime gambling will want to make sure to check restaurant hours. The 24-hour restaurant requirement was dropped, meaning you may need to plan eating schedules around open dining options.
The suspension also affects some casino licensing. Clark County Code 8.04.310 requires companies to apply for 60-day extensions for extended closures. It also kept other requirements to hold a license on an inactive gaming business. These are also suspended.