Property by property, Las Vegas casinos are being allowed to play a full house.

On Wednesday, May 12, the Nevada Gaming Control Board lifted occupancy restrictions for a number of casino resorts on the famous Strip. Gambling floors will be allowed to open at 100 percent capacity, with no requirements for social distancing. Casino-related businesses, like restaurants, pools, and other non-gambling areas are required to stick to 80 percent occupancy and three-foot distancing.

The decision, which is made on a per-property basis, is being made based on workplace-reported vaccination rates. At least 80 percent of a property’s staff have to be at least partially vaccinated against coronavirus for this approval.

MGM Resorts, which owns most of the Strip, reports that nine of their properties had their restrictions lifted; ARIA, the Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, New York-New York, and Park MGM. Studio Casinos, another giant, got approval at six properties outside Las Vegas, in Boulder, Green Valley Ranch, Palace, Red Rock, Santa Fe, and Sunset. Other properties approved to fully open include the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Encore, the Strat, and Wynn Las Vegas.

According to Clark County lawmakers, who have jurisdiction over the city, all Las Vegas Casinos and other entertainment properties will be allowed to open at an unconditional 100% once 60 percent of eligible county residents are vaccinated. As of Wednesday, only 47 percent had had at least one shot.

Clark County is still reporting an average of just over 300 new cases a day and holding steady, down from its peak of nearly 3,000 cases per day in early January. The resorts have been pushing for a full re-opening for some time with the support of Las Vegas Mayor Carol Goodman, who opposed social distancing measures from the start of the pandemic. But when asked last year if she would be willing to attend the reopened casinos, her response was “First of all, I have a family.”

Image: Kit Leong /