COVID Precautions: Caesars vs MGM

I was in Las Vegas last weekend and was surprised by the drastic differences between how the 2 companies approached the COVID precautions. Both companies advertise social distancing, reduced capacity at table games and slot machines as well as mask requirements. The approach each company takes on the casino floor is very different.

MGM properties have every other slot machine turned off or disabled. At table games, they have plexiglas dividers between each player space as well as between the players and the dealer. They have similar plexiglas barriers in the poker room. I still felt the poker room was too crowded.

View of tables games at the Bellagio with Plexiglas separating each player spot.
It may be difficult to see in the photo, but there is Plexiglas between each of the available player positions as well as between the dealer and the players at the Bellagio. Also true for other MGM properties.

Caesars on the other hand has every slot machine on. They are expecting players to not use a machine next to another player, but they are not being proactive. I saw multiple instances of players playing and sitting next to each other, so that isn’t working. Caesars doesn’t have barriers at tables or in the poker room, either. They have removed seats to limit the number of players at each game. Caesars seems to be taking a more staff oriented approach. They have dealers wearing plastic face shields in addition to masks, but there is nothing separating players..

An empty table game at Caesars Palace. Limited chairs, but no barriers in place.
An empty table game at Caesars Palace. Limited chairs, but no barriers in place.

MGM has also installed hand washing stations around the casinos and has stands with free disposable masks and hand sanitizer near the entrances. I saw hand sanitizer available at Caesars properties, but not to the same extent as the MGM properties.

COVID safety kit in Bellagio rooms with hand sanitizer, touchless door opener tool and reuseable masks.

Check in lines and hotel lobbies were also very different. The Bellagio had a lot of space available to keep distanced while in the check in line. MGM Grand also had a lot of space. Neither place was crowded when I visited. The Flamingo check in line was a mess. They did create some space to keep the waiting line away from the check in counter, but the line continued across the lobby and down the hallway. People in line were much closer than 6 feet. There were no markings to indicate where people should stand in the extended line. It was a hazardous situation. It also created a road block if you were trying to get from the casino to the Spa Tower.

We each have our own personal risk tolerances. The situations at Caesars Palace and the Flamingo made me very uncomfortable. I was happy that I was not staying at either place. It would have made for a very stressful trip for me. Unless things change, I cannot recommend staying or playing at a Caesars property in Las Vegas until things get better.

On the other hand, my stay at the Bellagio was really good and relatively comfortable given the situation. I would readily stay at the Bellagio or another MGM property during the pandemic if necessary.

8 thoughts on “COVID Precautions: Caesars vs MGM”

  1. Mark– you hit the nail on the head here. MGM seems “safe” to me. CZR properties seem like the “wild west”! We were in Vegas –staying at Luxor/MGM and felt very safe. Meanwhile–down the street it seemed like people at CZR had forgotten about the virus. This was just before the 4th of July. However–we found the opposite at Harrah’s in Laughlin. Bars were closed (drink service was good), only fast food and The Range was open, machines well spaced and some machines turned off as needed–just the opposite of CZR in Las Vegas. I’m heading to Council Bluffs next week–it will be interesting to see what the situation is like there. And in case Mark forgot–masks are required to worn whether he thinks they’re useless or otherwise. Wearing a mask doesn’t make me feel “safe” it’s the combination of things –INCLUDING WEARING MASKS, that helps in this whole issue.

    1. Thanks for your additional insights Jean.
      I haven’t visited regional casinos and don’t expect to do that anytime soon. I thought I was conveying that my observations were only about what I experienced in Las Vegas, but that might not have been clear.

      The bars closed the evening I arrived. The casino bars at the Bellagio had Plexiglas barriers similar to the ones at the table games. It ended up being a moot point, though, since all bars were ordered to close. Cocktail service seemed to be good.

      Take Care.

  2. Thanks Mark! I hope the new owners of Caesars take note of the difference.

  3. Thank you for a risk-adverse assessment. Most folks are slanting their opinions and making it seem like people that have a concern about getting COVID are being unreasonable. I think if I were to take that risk, I would like to know where and which businesses are taking my safety seriously. I appreciate and enjoyed your op-ed.

    1. In other words, you throw science and data out the window and go with how things make you FEEL instead of how things ARE. I guess if putting on a mask made of a material that u can blow out a candle through (screen door material) makes you FEEL better then so be it. It now makes anything you post lack any sort of credibility though.

      1. Hi Andrew.
        If your mask is made of screen door material, I suggest getting or making a better mask.

        I expected both companies to approach the precautions in similar manners since the info on their websites is very similar. I was surprised to see how dissimilar they were. I believe people should have access to the information and then decide what they want to do.

        If you feel my site is no longer of value for you, that’s okay. You also have a choice whether to read or not read anything on it.

        Take Care,

      2. If you don’t want to hear others opinions, feel free to go elsewhere. I want to head out to Vegas, and really appreciate Mark’s observations.

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