More poker restrictions are being lifted on Las Vegas Boulevard
By Bob Garcia
For signs that Las Vegas poker is returning to a pre-pandemic level of normal, just look up—to the iconic Stratosphere, specifically. The Las Vegas landmark just announced that it is lifting most pandemic restrictions and returning to 100% capacity on the casino floor.
The move comes after the popular Las Vegas casino and hotel met Nevada Gaming Control Board requirements, including providing COVID-19 vaccinations at on-property clinics for employees and their immediate families.
While the move is welcome news for poker players looking for a more normal Las Vegas experience, not all restrictions will be completely lifted. For example, masks will still be required for workers and employees.
However, the restrictions being lifted are significant. Clear plastic separators can be removed from gambling tables, returning poker and casino gaming to a more intimate experience —something that’s been missing for over a year.
Vaccination rates are crucial for reopening. Last week, Wynn and Encore received approval from state regulators to lift capacity restrictions and physical distancing limits. With a large, luxurious poker room, Wynn is hugely popular for cash games and poker tournaments.
Cosmopolitan also received authorization to lift restrictions. Along with Wynn and Encore, they showed the Nevada Gaming Control Board that at least 80% of employees received one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. As inoculation ramps up, more casinos and poker rooms will likely follow suit in the days and weeks ahead.
The lifted restrictions announcement is good news for poker players eyeing the 2021 World Series of Poker. This year’s live tournament series will kick off in September at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. A domestic online edition will take place this summer.