Sahara Las Vegas Faces Disciplinary Action Over COVID-19 Protocol Violations
Nevada’s Gaming Control Board (GCB) filed a two-count complaint against Sahara Las Vegas for alleged violations of the state’s health and safety protocols designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on casino floors.
The GCB stated that on July 23, Sahara Las Vegas hosted a local trade organization’s luncheon in their conference center with 135 people in attendance. Nevada’s current guidelines impose a strict limit of 50 or fewer individuals in any one group event.
The GCB also stated that Sahara Las Vegas allowed four patrons to stand by a craps table on June 16, despite just three of them playing. Other instances flagged by GCB agents on the same day include: a non-playing guest standing in between two Blackjack players during a game and five guests standing around a slot machine without playing.
The incidents reported by the GCB are all violations of Nevada’s social distancing guidelines.
KTNV Channel 13 Las Vegas
Sahara Immediately Corrects Violations
Sahara Las Vegas is owned by the Meruelo Group, based in Los Angeles, who also owns the Reno-based Grand Sierra. The Meruelo Group will face possible fines from the GCB.
Sahara’s vice president of government affairs argued that the incidents arose from a misunderstanding between the company and the regulators. He said they thought that luncheons could be held with a 50% maximum capacity threshold.
Sahara executives were said to have immediately corrected the violations once the GCB agents brought them to their attention. A spokesperson for the Sahara stated that the casino works hard to ensure that all government regulations are followed in their property.
The casino released a statement and confirmed that they were able to amend the issues pointed out by GCB agents immediately. The statement also noted that the firm had sought the guidance of public health experts to develop their own health and safety protocols.
GCB to Open 156 Non-Compliance Cases
The GCB’s complaint against Sahara Las Vegas is the fifth complaint made by the agency since casinos were allowed to reopen in the state on June 4. The Sahara is the first Strip property to be tagged by the GCB for potential disciplinary actions.
The GCB has said that they will be opening 156 cases across Nevada related to the non-compliance of health and safety protocols approved by the Nevada Gaming Commission.
Previously, the GCB has filed complaints against C.O.D. Casino in Minden, Hotel Nevada in Ely, Incline Bowl in Incline Village and Century Gaming, for violations of the protocols.