Mohegan Gaming Fined $60K For Vegas Casino’s COVID Safety Violations

Written By Derek Helling on June 29, 2021
A Mohegan Gaming pandemic fine for the company's Las Vegas casino's violations of local COVID-19 regulations produces some sticker shock.

Opening the Mohegan Sun Casino in Las Vegas last March just got a lot more expensive. A Mohegan Gaming pandemic fine for several violations that occurred during the property’s opening celebration is no chump change.

Despite the $60,000 price tag, the Connecticut-based tribal gaming company isn’t disputing a penny of the reparation. The amount of very public evidence that the transgressions occurred likely plays a role in the gambling company’s contrition.

The details of the Mohegan Gaming pandemic fine

Earlier this month, the Nevada Gaming Control Board levied the charges against Mohegan Gaming. Those consisted of five allegations of broken COVID-19 protocols at its new casino at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. All of the events took place on the night of March 25, 2020.

At the time, the city required all patrons to abide by face mask and social distancing requirements. Despite that, photos and videos of several VIP guests playing table games without masks surfaced. Additionally, other guests at the party were pictured clearly within less than six feet in proximity to each other.

Although the casino removed the offending posts from its social media accounts, plenty of other evidence of the violations remains. Thus, when the NGCB confronted Mohegan Gaming on the issues, there was no contest.

At the June 9 hearing, Mohegan Gaming CEO Ray Pineault apologized for the violations and took full responsibility. Mohegan Gaming agreed to pay the entire $60,000 fee. It is the highest for any single facility among those the Board has given out for breaking COVID-19 violations.

The Meruelo Group has paid a total of $75,000 for similar violations, but that sum covers fines from both Sahara Las Vegas and the Grand Sierra in Reno properties. Now that Nevada has lifted all of its COVID-19 restrictions relevant to casinos, Mohegan Gaming’s fine might stand as the single-operator highest.

The return to normal capacity should help Mohegan cover its loss with the fine. However, as Connecticut residents know, that isn’t the only place where the gaming company brings in revenue.

Mohegan’s interest in online gaming soon to expand

Mohegan Gaming already operates online casinos in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Sometime in the near future, it aims to do the same in CT. All the legal work with the state is done and the renegotiated compact between CT and the Mohegan Tribe awaits approval from the federal government.

Mohegan Gaming could quickly replace the $60,000 it is out once it launches the platform in CT, where gamblers are already very familiar with its brand. Projections from the sponsor of the legislation to enable legal online casinos in CT called the resulting level of funding “historic.”

Hopefully, this fine will also be historic for Mohegan Gaming in that it never has to pay such a fine again for any reason. Certainly, no one wants to re-live the pandemic circumstances that made the regulations necessary.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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