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Gambling Today: Are Casino Safety Shields the Best Bet for Financial Recovery?

Could new safety shield help expedite Las Vegas casino industry's recovery?

One out of every three jobs in Nevada is tied to gaming and tourism. Take a moment and let that sink in. Many casino leaders were hopeful that they would be able to re-open sometime in mid-May or early June. However, as Vegas casinos have become a part of Governor Sisolak’s “Phase 3” (which now projects for late June/early July) many major properties around the city have turned from furloughs to layoffs.

In recently released health and safety guidelines, the Gaming Control Board has instructed casinos to follow strict medical requirements for the usage of medical masks and other personal protective equipment. With as many as 450,000 people employed by the gaming and tourism industry, Sin City will be forced to look for new ways to help people feel safe returning to the strip sooner rather than later.

One of the measures is the implementation being developed by a local Vegas company, Screaming Images. The company is developing a safety shield that could be utilized for table games as well as slot machines. The shield’s protective use for table games would be to separate players from dealers as well as serve as a barrier between players. The shield for slot players would create a protective barrier between a machine and the ones immediately next to it.

According to BestUSCasinos, “the shields are made of clear acrylic and they can be shaped to various different casino games and table sizes. The clear acrylic will not fog up and is being constructed in a manner that affords easy disinfecting and cleaning procedures.” Depending on the application, most pieces can be installed in a span of 15 minutes. The shield installments will not require the use of screws, thus preventing any damage to a gaming table’s felt or slot exterior.

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Early plans for reopenings call for allowing only three players at a blackjack table, four players to a poker table and removing every other slot machine to promote social distancing. El Cortez, a downtown property in Las Vegas, has allowed the company to carry out some tests on its gaming floor on the slots and tables while at the same time allowing the company to sell its idea to other properties while showcasing.

It is unclear if any casino operators will decide to invest in implementing these dividers. Would it also lead to less strict guidelines that would allow for more players at a given table game or help save the live poker industry? For nearly 273,000 currently unemployed in the Nevada hospitality industry, hopefully the answer is an emphatic “Yes” on all accounts.