Vegas is waiting out the coronavirus pandemic

By Charlotte Lee Updated
Vegas NYE celebrations spark COVID-19 panic

A handful of cars drove past the eerily quiet hotels and casinos, shuttered since mid-March in the city of Las Vegas.

Yahoo News reports beneath the world-famous Strip, Sin City is in turmoil.

A tug of war has emerged between the need for safety during coronavirus and the survival of the gambling capital’s tourism industry, which some casino operators fear will never be the same.

Nevada’s Culinary Union Local 226, which represents some 60,000 casino and hotel workers, has had 98 per cent of its members laid off, according to secretary-treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline.

At least 12 union members have died from the COVID-19 outbreak, out of Nevada’s total death toll of 243.

Arguello-Kline said the union fully supports the governor’s decision to extend the lockdown until at least May 15.

“He is doing what he can to protect us,” she said.

“I know it is though for people, but if you lose your life, you have lost what is most important.”

But the length of time of the shutdown – and whether it is even necessary – has triggered heated debate in Las Vegas.

Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman has called the shutdown “insanity” and has pleaded for the city to be reopened.

Last month, Goodman faced national backlash after a controversial interview with CNN.

In a statement released last week, Goodman, who still enjoys support among Las Vegas residents eager to get back to work, emphasised the need to reopen in the “safest” way.

“Las Vegas is in a unique economic crisis,” she wrote.

Key to the debate is how Las Vegas casinos could safely reopen their doors if the restrictions were lifted.

Inventors have touted Plexiglass barriers at blackjack tables and other card tables, which would separate the dealer and each player.

Some resorts have rolled out thermo-imaging plans to check patrons’ temperatures at a casino entry.

Arguello-Kline said social distancing measures must be put in place, from restaurants to elevators, along with personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves for workers.

Aristocrat launches first in Vegas casino

Aristocrat Technologies launched the first ever Buffalo Bar located at Rampart Casino in Summerlin in February.

The newest evolution of the fan-favourite brand, Buffalo, offers an all-new experience for players that combines gaming and leisure for locals and visitors alike.

The Buffalo Bar will officially open on Saturday at 5pm.

“We’re excited to unveil the Buffalo Bar concept in partnership with Rampart Casino,” senior vice president of commercial strategy and data analytics for Aristocrat Jon Hanlin said.

“Buffalo has come a staple in the gaming community, and we’re excited to create an experience for players unlike any other.”

The space will feature a wide variety of Buffalo slot games including the all-new Winner’s World Multi-Game bar top, featuring Buffalo slots and Buffalo Keno, as well as player favourites including Buffalo, Buffalo Gold, Buffalo Gold Revolution, Buffalo Stampede, Buffalo Diamond and Buffalo Grand.

Located just off the casino floor, the Buffalo Bar will feature 1,095 square feet of gaming as well as offer nine bar seats with corresponding Aristocrat bar-top games.

Furthermore, the bar will feature the signature “Hairy Buffalo” cocktail.

“Our customers know and love the Buffalo brand, so to partner with Aristocrat and launch the first Buffalo Bar with all the different themed gaming options in one area is forward-thinking from the casino-side and very exciting for our players,” Michelle Bacigalupi, vice president and general manager at Rampart Casino said.

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