Focusing on compliance with gaming and other regulations is more important that ever. With the economic impact of COVID-19, the need to cut costs could lead to the temptation to eliminate staff that enforces compliance. This could include accounting staff, internal auditors and compliance officers. Elimination of these vital positions could increase the potential for violations of gaming regulations and increase the risk of fraud and theft.
In addition to adherence to state and federal regulations, COVID-19 has created a high-risk environment requiring casinos to enforce rules related to the virus. I remember the good old days where security staff would immediately confront a casino customer who walked into the casino wearing a mask. Of course now the security team will be chasing customers who aren’t wearing a mask. How times have changed! Without a doubt the compliance with rules on proper cleaning, health standards, masking of employees and customer masks are now top-of-list to avoid potential fines and sanctions. Many casinos have expended hundreds of thousands of dollars to implement physical changes to protect both customers and employees.
While all casinos have now implemented processes and procedures to mitigate the impact from COVID-19, compliance with policies is not guaranteed. Ongoing proactive action steps are a key component to protect casinos from the regulatory actions and to mitigate legal liability. Casinos must also establish a compliance program to enforce the policies and ensure the effectiveness of the steps they have taken. Nevada casinos have already been fined for COVID-19 related violations with fines ranging from $5,000 to $75,000.