Casinos Public or Private Property? – Mask Protocols

So, you think you have the right to do anything you want at a casino. It’s simple – you can’t do whatever you want when casinos are private property. Are Casinos Public or Private Property? Read on…

Casinos Public or Private Property? - It's All About the Mask

In fact, casinos are public places that are privately owned. Consequently, They can let whomever they want in or keep whomever they want out. If you don’t follow the property’s directions or guidelines, you may be asked to leave. And they really don’t even need a reason, especially tribal casinos with their own native sovereignty. Don’t want to leave? Simple, security will arrest you! 

Recent Surge In Those Unvaccinated

The fast-spreading Delta variant is continuing to fuel an outbreak of new COVID-19 cases affecting nearly every corner of the U.S. For the second week in a row, all 50 states and Washington, D.C., saw an increase in infections over the previous week. And in some states that are seeing the worst COVID surges, health officials are reviving public health precautions as hospitalizations and deaths from the virus continue to rise.

So, what does that mean to our casino visits?

Masks are back in Las Vegas after the Southern Nevada Health District officials cited a rising number of coronavirus cases. They advised everyone — vaccinated or not — to wear facial coverings in crowds and indoor places. This is a recommendation, not yet a requirement.

Recently, Clark County released a mandate for employees to wear masks while in crowded indoor spaces, which will apply to casinos, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Will we see another mandate in New England states and New England casinos? At this time, probably not. But the old saying “better safe than sorry” comes to mind when visiting the casino.

Is Smoking Back?

With the surge of cases, the lack of reaching herd immunity vaccinations, and the fact that smoke holds droplets in the air longer and to a farther range, I don’t see a rush back to pre-covid smoking conditions in casinos around the country. In New England, only Connecticut and Rhode Island casinos allowed smoking. It is to be seen whether smoking will return soon to the four casinos in these two states.

Related PostAre Smoke-Free Casinos Here To Stay

Casino Can Enforce CDC or State Guidelines

The basic law for casinos, just like any other business, is that it doesn’t HAVE to do business with you. You are not entitled to be there. Many laws, such as smoking in restaurants, consider public health and safety the utmost importance.

Many places in or outside a casino post this sign – “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone.” The rule is still implied if businesses don’t post these signs.

Federal laws are the exception. Those laws prohibit discrimination based on a person’s national origin, race, color, religion, disability, sex, and familial status. Casinos must follow such federal laws as well.

Banned or Trespassed from a Casino

It can happen to the best of us. Just ask Ben Affleck.

The difference between banned and trespassed has to do with the degree of your actions.  The obvious ones involve prostitution, vagrancy, intoxication, and obnoxious behavior. In addition, casinos consider abusing promotional programs, drawings, or contests undesirable and cheating. By the way, counting cards (sorry, Blackjack players) is considered a not-wanted practice on their private casino floors. While not illegal, you can be backed off or asked to leave if suspected.

Casinos Public or Private Property?

If you refuse to wear your mask in a casino when it’s a casino mandatory guideline, they are within their rights to ask you to leave. The casino staff has the ability to arrest you for trespassing if you refuse to leave. You might think you have the right to refuse to mask up, but that right to refusal ended when you stepped on private property. (Medical exceptions do exist)

Related Post – Policing in the Casino Gaming Environment

Sovereign Nations

Casinos Public or Private Property? - It's All About the Mask
The Rainmaker, Foxwoods

Native American territory is sovereign and not entirely subject to U.S. laws. Think of a tribe as a 51st state. It can govern itself and make its own laws.  But if it does something that overtly disturbs the rest of the country’s public good, federal authorities will step in.

In some instances, players may have less flexibility at tribal casinos. Civil Law has little power on tribal land. Tribes will trespass or ban casino guests according to the tribe rules and its gaming commission.

Summary – Mask Protocols

Casinos are private property. If they ask you to stop yelling the “F” word at the table, you need to do it. And if they expect you to wear a mask at all times, you must do that, too. It’s a free country, and you have a choice to visit another private casino property that doesn’t consider mask protocols important. You also have a right to leave, talk to casino staff, and seek security help if you are uncomfortable with those who won’t follow guidelines. You have a right to let staff know.

Just remember, visiting a friend at his home and doing anything you feel you have a right to do in his private domain is a wrong assumption. If he prefers a non-smoking household, he’s entitled to ask you to leave if you “light up” on his property. However, if you and he agree to set up a meth lab on his property, laws prohibit that due to state and federal laws.

Casinos are private properties as well. If you count cards at blackjack or work on a video poker team, you can be asked to stop or leave even though they aren’t illegal actions. But it’s their property, so their rules.

Follow their rules and state/federal laws, and you won’t be backed off, asked to leave, or banned from the property.