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Las Vegas: Caesars addresses questions about WSOP; Mayor says business as usual; Casino closes all buffets

Caesars addresses questions regarding WSOP; Detailed measures taken so far

Answering a question from PokerNews’ Chad Holloway to Tony Rodio, CEO of Caesars Entertainment, recently issued a memorandum shedding some light on this year’s annual World Series of Poker (WSOP), as well as preventive measures the establishment has adapted so far.

In this note, the company reassures its customers that it is with their best efforts to provide a healthy and safe environment while managing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak occurring on a global scale. With infected patients already confirmed in the state, businesses all over are beginning to feel its impact across the Entertainment Capital of the World.

While trying to take hold of the current situation as effectively as possible and to ease the concerns of its visitors, Rodio states that the company is closely monitoring and analyzing developments and statements from local, national and international health agencies and are taking actions to comply with their directives. Their current focus in order to curb the spread of the virus is to frequently wash hands, heighten cleaning practices, avoid contact with sick people, stay away from work when ill and not to travel to countries with high infection rates. At the moment, their team is continuously developing programs and actions to help protect both guests and employees.

Listed below are some of the measures in place:

  1. Reminding guests and employees through multiple channels about washing hands often. Additional signage and hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed in line with this directive.
  2. Increased frequency of cleaning for high-touch surfaces in public areas throughout the complex.
  3. Reinforced training procedures to ensure proper implementation of cleaning processes.
  4. Suspended international business travel to areas with higher infection rates and a three week quarantine period upon return for employees who have traveled for personal reasons.
  5. Seeking medical attention and avoiding public exposure for guests and employees who appear ill until they are free of symptoms.

High profile players consider that WSOP unlikely to happen

With regards to the increasing number of infected cases, numerous international poker professionals are starting to believe that the emerging pandemic is at risk of shutting down the 51st annual WSOP this summer. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 115,800 people including at least 1,000 in the US and killed over 4,200 worldwide, according to CNN’s tally.

Daniel Negreanu, a veteran in the poker industry, tweeted “The notion that we will have a WSOP in 2020 seems very unlikely. Also unlikely that you will see NBA/NHL playoff games with fans in the stands.” He later asked all poker operators to stop  their current operations due to the infectious nature of the game

Three-time WSOP bracelet winner, Doug Polk, also added “I think there is a real chance of WSOP being cancelled. There are just so many countries that fly in and with severe travel restrictions it might not be realistic.” followed by a 20:1 wager against the people who believed that the event would go on as planned. Soon after, Pokershares founder, Mike McDonald joins in the bet taking slightly worse odds than Polk.

Although some of the players may be perceived as pessimistic, many still fear that the WSOP may not follow through given the high transmissibility of the Coronavirus. Despite this, no definite plans regarding the canceling of the event has been noted.

“We’ve been monitoring the situation and will continue to lean on the experts in this field for guidance,” said Seth Palansky, Vice President of Corporate Communication for the WSOP. “At this time, all our events and schedules remain intact and are planned to go on without interruption. We would be prepared to expand measures to ensure the safety of our guests and employees, again leaning on the experts.”

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman says business as usual

As many of the people are engaging in fear and panic, Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman remains calm on the topic of the outbreak, encouraging people to go about business as usual when it comes to travel.

“And, yes, fly,” she said. “This has been going on for years. Any time in the past 50, 60 years of my life that I flew any length of time beyond an hour, I’d end up with a cold or something from the circulating air. And maybe this will help the airlines figure out how to purify their air.”

Goodman believes the media is creating “fear” in the public and that Las Vegas, Nevada is doing fine. The mayor encouraged the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) to not respond to that fear but rather be proactive in its messaging and funding. However, Board member and Clark County Commissioner, Lawrence Weekly had a different attitude as he spoke about the importance of making sure that messaging reaches all communities, especially those that are generally underserved. Weekly reinforces the need to inform the public about proper health measures that should be taken and to be mindful of less informed communities.

Vegas casinos close all buffets

A staple of the Sin City experience, Las Vegas buffets are commonly visited by tourists who flock the city for endless entertainment. Sadly, in efforts to restrain the spread of the virus, seven buffets in the area will shut down its operations temporarily. MGM Resorts announced Tuesday that it would close buffets at Aria, Bellagio, Excalibur, Luxor, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and the Mirage, effective Sunday. The closures are a precautionary measure and will be reevaluated weekly.

Currently, similar establishments have not followed suit with Caesars Entertainment’s Executive Vice President of Communications and Government Relations, Rich Broome, adding that they have no plans to shut down buffets in their 10 properties in the boulevard. Wynn Las Vegas, however, has deployed additional employees to their buffet to reduce the risk of contagion. Stationed culinary staff at each food station will be present to serve the food, eliminating the need for guests to touch serving utensils.

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Louis Hartwell

Graduated in Media Communication at the University of Lausanne, Louis Hartman is a co-founder of somuchpoker.com. He began his career in Cambodia as freelance journalist. In same time he was making his living by playing poker every night at that time. Intense learner, he read dozens of poker strategy books to improve his skills during many years. With a strong interest about poker "behind the scene" in Asia and his communication skills, Louis launched Somuchpoker in 2014.

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