Sahara, Grand Sierra operators to pay $75,000 fine to Nevada for COVID-19 violations Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports · September 24, 2020 at 4:00 pm The operators of the Sahara on the Las Vegas Strip and the Grand Sierra in Reno will pay a $75,000 fine in a joint stipulated settlement with Nevada gaming regulators for violations under the state’s COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. In the settlement, which is expected to considered today by the Nevada Gaming Commission, the property’s operators “did not admit nor deny that the factual allegations set forth in the complaints … are true and correct, but enter into this joint stipulation for settlement and order because they believe the (Gaming Control Board) could meet its burden of proof if these matters were to proceed to evidentiary hearing before the commission.” The Sahara and Grand Sierra are owned by Los Angeles-based Meruelo Group. The Sahara was cited for four instances where the property violated state-mandated social distancing efforts designed to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Grand Sierra Resort in Reno According to the Gaming Control Board, the Sahara allowed a local trade organization to hold a luncheon in the property’s conference center on July 23 that 135 people were reported to have attended, a violation of social distancing orders that capped group events at 50 or fewer individuals. A three-count complaint was filed against Grand Sierra after state gaming agents – on three separate occasions – observed Grand Sierra customers not wearing facial coverings or masks, as mandated by the state. In the complaint, the gaming agents said Grand Sierra employees did not take any steps to direct patrons to wear facial coverings. Gaming regulators had filed six disciplinary complaints since the end of June involving COVID-19 guidelines violations. Four of the complaints were resolved this week, according to the Gaming Control Board, and will be considered by the Gaming Commission today. In the four settlements, violations ranged from non-enforcement of the requirement that customers wear facial coverings or masks inside gaming properties and a lack of following social distancing guidelines. Two restricted gaming locations agreed to fines for not turning off their bar top slot machines, as was required on July 10 when Gov. Steve Sisolak order all standalone bar tops in seven Nevada counties to close. Waldman Investments, which owns Bowl Incline in Lake Tahoe, will pay $5,000 for not disabling its bar top games on July 10. Slot machine route operator Century Gaming agreed to pay a $15,000 fine to settle a similar complaint involving the Cheers bar in Winnemucca. Hotel Nevada in Ely will pay a $10,000 fine after three employees and seven customers were seen not wearing face coverings while on the casino floor. The property’s general manager was informed of the violations by state gaming agents, but customers and employees were still seen to not comply with masking requirements. Owners of the C.O.D. Casino in Minden, who also owns Cactus Jack’s Senator Club and Jackpot Crossing, agreed to pay a $30,000 fine for mask violations. (This story will be updated) Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.