“Four-max” may be the new poker normal in Vegas

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Posted on: May 4, 2020 9:34 pm EDT

Social distancing protocols may continue long after the coronavirus is brought under control

As much as Las Vegas gambling venues are working on extended plans to resume business applying new guidelines for social distancing and cleanliness, the Nevada Gaming Control Board (NGCB) can come up with new regulations for the future. It is safe to say that this coronavirus pandemic has set a before and after when it comes to how most businesses are going to be operated from now on. The NGCB released on Friday afternoon a set of health and safety policies to run gambling venues, including limiting the seating available at every gaming table.

These new guidelines will allow Las Vegas casinos to resume gaming operations in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. This limitation in the available seats per table is putting a restriction on any sort of full ring, or six-max poker tournament, meaning that, even if casinos reopen, these rules eliminate any possibility of hosting poker tournaments until more time has passed and the virus is less of a threat. Not only are poker tables getting cuts on the number of seats – for roulette, only four players will be allowed. At a craps table, the maximum number of gamblers who can be seated is six, and three on blackjack tables.

Other areas of the casinos are going to see restrictions, too. Operators must make sure that large groups don’t gather in the sportsbooks, bingo halls and keno lounges. Slot machines must be separated at a safe distance, and the NGCB recommends removing chairs and stools in front of every other slot machine. If any gathering of people is spotted at any moment inside of a casino facility, everyone will be requested to distance from each other.