Vegas Casinos to Close for First Time Since 1963

Nevada governor shuts down gambling for a month
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 18, 2020 3:25 AM CDT
Vegas Casinos to Close for First Time Since 1963
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak responds to a question during a news conference at the Sawyer State Building in Las Vegas, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.   (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

Gambling is grinding to a halt in casino-mecca Las Vegas after the governor of Nevada issued a sweeping statewide order to stop the spread of the new coronavirus. Democrat Steve Sisolak ordered a monthlong freeze on gambling, shutting down everything from the famous casino resorts to slot machines found in convenience stores, cutting off an industry that fuels the state's tourism and hospitality-powered economy, the AP reports. Sisolak's broad directive also includes the monthlong closure of non-essential businesses like bars, movie theaters, and gyms at noon Wednesday. Restaurants must shutter their dining rooms and only offer takeout or delivery.

"This is affecting the lives of our citizens. People are dying. Every day that is delayed here, I'm losing a dozen people on the back end that are going to die as a result of this,” Sisolak said Tuesday night. His order follows similar moves by more than 10 other governors as states scramble to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The governor gave thousands of businesses in Las Vegas less than a day to prepare. Though a number of casinos started to close their doors this week, Sisolak's sweeping order shutters Nevada's main industry, anchored by glimmering casinos lining the Las Vegas Strip. The last time casinos closed in Las Vegas was for John F. Kennedy’s funeral on Nov. 25, 1963, says University of Nevada history professor Michael Green.

(More coronavirus stories.)

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