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Mohegan Sun Casino gets a massive fine for failure to follow safety protocols

Senior Reporter

The Nevada Gaming Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a settlement with MGE for a $60,000 fine. Why? Simply because players in the casino weren’t wearing masks while playing, and the casino’s staff did nothing about it. Yes, you read that right. Individuals who chose not to wear masks and a casino that allowed them to make that personal choice are in trouble and have to pay up for their disobedience.

Mohegan Sun Casino gets a massive fine for failure to follow safety protocols
Mohegan Sun Casino inside. Image: mohegansunlasvegas.com

Earlier in June, the Control Board released pictures that showed up in a local newspaper and on the Virgin Hotel’s Twitter account, exposing celebrities enjoying gambling table games without any masks on. The Control Board complained that the celebrities playing table games without wearing facial coverings are “surrounded by crowds of onlookers who were not socially distanced.” However, the Gaming Commissioner Steven Cohen was pleased with the operator’s compliance, and the company took down the photos on “right away.”

Yes, uh-oh, they weren’t socially distancing either. These reality television celebrities were paid to promote the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. It seems like they missed the mark just a bit and landed the facility a fine instead of advertising it. On a side note: how were people supposed to recognize the celebs if they had these paper muzzles on anyway?

This $60,000 “bad boy ticket” is by far the largest fine Nevada has heard of being issued by state's gaming regulators, as Deputy Attorney General John Michela told the Gaming Commission, The Nevada Independent reports. But it certainly isn’t the first when it comes to disproportionate COVID violation fines. Earlier this month, the Sacramento-area card room was fined and suspended for COVID violations as well. Gaming regulators last year settled five other complaints covering COVID-19 protocol violations with fines ranging from $5,000 to $30,000. Why did they go so ham on this specific casino? Perhaps it was done to set an example once and for all.

The Mohegan Gaming CEO Ray Pineault apologized to the Gaming Control Board, accepted the consequences for the incident, and was willing to pay the fine in full without any complaints. “There was no pushback from the licensee,” Moran added as he was displaying his remorse. “I think it’s a fair number. You guys ponied up.” But as you may know, this fine isn’t a big deal for a casino that racks up massive amounts of money daily. And why would the operator object? Pay the fine to shut them up and move on - piece of cake.

The operator will now be humbly following up with a five-count complaint for violating both capacity guidelines and the mandatory use of masks or facial coverings. Everyone at the Mohegan Sun Casino is deeply sorry (or not), the fines for these “heinous crimes” will be paid, and all is jolly at last.

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