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Poker players may have to sign waivers to play in Vegas casinos

The idea of trying to reduce a casino’s legal liability is starting to be floated

By now, it is clear that live poker games will not be running as usual in the most famous casinos in the world after the havoc created by the coronavirus pandemic. For casinos, this new situation also involves thinking about possible legal issues that they could face if one of these gambling venues fails on the preventive measures and the virus spreads. Therefore, some casinos in Las Vegas are already thinking about ways to tackle these risks, especially for the poker tables where keeping the required social distancing measures makes really hard for poker to run smoothly. One of the options could be waivers that players would have to sign, removing the venue’s liability.

As part of the most discussed measures casinos are implementing for table games like poker is the mandatory use of a face mask, which could complicate communication between dealers and players trying to understand the amount of the bet or the instruction given. Even if facemasks can protect players from body fluids, there are still issues to be discussed; for instance, the poker chips that pass from one hand to another constantly during a game of poker. If these measures don’t work, land-based casinos are considering passing the legal responsibility to players. It would be done through having players agreeing to an exculpatory clause, which is a provision in a contract for one of the parties to get all liability for acts of negligence. These types of clauses are usually signed by people who engage in extreme activities like sky-diving or bungee-jumping.

It doesn’t even have to be a signed contract that could scare players away due to being awkward. Casinos could simply use a sign outside that would warn players that the card room is not to be held responsible for negligence. That part still needs to develop further because using just a sign outside might be a problem at court in case negligence does occur.

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