The Implications of Suspending Clark County's Privileged Licensing Requirements on Resorts

Restaurant at Golden Nugget CasinoDining establishment located within Golden Nugget Casino

Until mid-July, requirements concerning the operations of certain privileged business licenses, primarily those associated with casino-resorts, have been temporarily suspended by the Clark County Commissioners last week.

The local media initially reported the news, but its importance was mostly overlooked.

In unincorporated Clark County, which covers the Las Vegas Strip and a significant portion of the local market, there are certain requirements that businesses designated as resorts must meet in order to comply with their licensing terms. These requirements encompass a variety of aspects, such as the minimum number of hotel rooms, bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues that a resort must have. However, due to certain circumstances, these requirements have been temporarily suspended.

The essential criteria for obtaining a resort designation is outlined in Clark County Code, which pertains to unrestricted licenses issued to businesses.

  • One main bar
  • One service bar
  • Policy on entertainment mandates a minimum of six days per week for performances in a compact setting or at least six occasions annually in a spacious venue.
  • 24-hour eatery offering comprehensive dining services and accommodating a minimum of 50 individuals.
  • Room service
  • Leisure amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, or golf courses

When the resorts are given the go-ahead to welcome guests once more, it is important to note that there will be no obligation for bars, restaurants, fitness centers, pools, or showrooms to be operational. Put simply, these facilities will not be mandated to be open alongside the reopening of the resorts.

When Las Vegas reopens, it will become increasingly clear that the focus will be on gambling, rather than the amenities that took over as the main revenue source on the Strip. The resorts are set to return to their roots, resembling the old days when gambling was at the forefront. This further supports the notion that Las Vegas will undergo a transformation, bringing back its gambling-centric allure. The pandemic has reshaped the priorities of the city, refocusing on the core element that has always defined Las Vegas: the thrill of the game. As the reopening approaches, the anticipation grows for a return to the classic Las Vegas experience, where the resorts will once again prioritize the exhilaration of gambling.

Small comedy clubs and magic shows will likely become the norm in the COVID-19 era, as it appears highly improbable that shows attracting large crowds will make a comeback anytime soon, possibly not even for several years.

In the imminent future, it is highly probable that casinos will retain their current operating hours, which allow them to remain open round-the-clock. However, during the initial phase of reopening, individual casinos may opt to either temporarily close their table game pits overnight or forgo reopening them altogether, depending on their unique circumstances. It is reasonable to assume that a majority of casinos, if not all, will continue to offer table games as part of their gaming options. Nonetheless, it is crucial to acknowledge that certain limitations will be in place, as I have previously discussed in a prior column.

I believe that even if casinos decide not to open their main bars as a measure to promote social distancing, they will still ensure that drink service is available to their customers. This means that service bars within the casinos will most likely remain open, providing beverages to those who wish to enjoy them while gambling or socializing within the establishment. The focus here is on maintaining safety protocols while still offering some level of convenience and enjoyment to the patrons. Therefore, while casinos will not be obligated to open their bars, it does not necessarily imply a complete halt to drink service.

If you're someone who enjoys gambling during the night, it's important to keep track of the operating hours of the restaurants. The rule that mandated all restaurants to be open 24 hours has been lifted, so it's crucial to be mindful of the dining options available when planning your eating schedule.

Other requirements

In the realm of casino operations, the suspension has broader implications, reaching into the realm of licensing. Specifically, it impacts the licensing process for certain casinos within Clark County. As per the provisions outlined in Clark County Code 8.04.310, companies are obligated to submit applications for 60-day extensions when faced with prolonged closures. Nevertheless, this suspension not only influences the extension process but also places a halt on other requirements for maintaining an active license within the gaming industry. Thus, all such obligations are presently suspended.