The glittering casinos of the Las Vegas Strip are (mostly) open for the first time in 78 days. The latest incarnation is one where masks are encouraged, temperatures are taken, and the crowds are sparse. But that appears to be the new reality for the forseeable future as the casino industry attempts to make some sense of the post-COVID-19 lockdown world.

So what does a post-lockdown Vegas casino look like. For starters, all guests are required to have their temperature taken when they step in the door. Those who clock in at more than 100 degrees (a very likely scenario in red-hot Vegas) will be asked for further screening. Medical advisors will be on hand to provide assistance to those who actually have fevers. How, potentially intoxicated, guests will react to this new measure has yet-to-be-determined.

Once a player makes it to the floor, she will find that her gaming options are limited. Fewer tables are open and the number of players is strictly limited – and remember that the casino is only operating at about half capacity. Only about half the available slot machines will be open at any time and casinos are keeping only every other machine on.

The good news is that the casinos that are open (Bellagio, New York-New York, MGM Grand,Caesars Palace, Flamingo and Harrah’s) are all offering free parking. The bad news is that the aftershock of lockdown was not so severe that the big hotels could find it in their hearts to waive those cumbersome resort fees.

So how well will all this work? No one knows for sure. Hotel executives like the Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO of casino MGM Resorts, are playing it by ear. In an interview with USA Today, he said that everything will be considered a success if tourists, “go home and say, ‘While it was different, it was safe, it was fun, and it’s still the Vegas I know.’”


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