When casino properties reopen in Nevada, safety will be a main focus for gaming operators.
Though Gov. Steve Sisolak has not set a date for a possible reopening, Las Vegas-based Screaming Images has started developing a safety shield that could be used on table games and slot machines.
The clear acrylic dividers are made to fit various games and will separate players and dealers.
“It’s us trying to take care of our existing customers,” said Screaming Images principal James Swanson. “It’s also us trying to keep busy (during the shutdown) and come up with innovative ideas and introduce them to the properties. It’s basically a team effort between everyone in the city.”
In operation for 18 years — 15 years locally — Screaming Images works with resort properties, organizers of major events like the Electric Daisy Carnival and Life is Beautiful and sports teams such as the Raiders, the Golden Knights and the Aces.
The company’s usual work includes design, print and installation work, with finalized material created in its print shop. Some notable work includes the massive Golden Knights’ and Aces jerseys draped over the replica Statue of Liberty in front of New York-New York and building wraps on the MGM Grand ahead of major boxing matches.
Swanson said the clear acrylic that the company is using doesn’t fog up and is easy to clean and can be pieced together in about 15 minutes or less depending on where it is being installed.
The divider system doesn’t involve screws, so no damage to tables or gaming machine cabinets will occur.
Screaming Images is testing its dividers on some gaming machines and tables at the longtime downtown Las Vegas property El Cortez. The company is also pitching its products to other casino operators.
“When he reached out about this new technology, and with everything being such an unknown to us and the industry, any new idea that could potentially work to protect employees and customers we’re willing to take a look at,” said El Cortez general manager Adam Wiesberg.
The feedback from those who have seen the dividers, including Wiesberg, has been positive. Swanson said some properties are in talks with Screaming Images regarding orders.
Wiesberg said El Cortez still is considering its final plans for the dividers and whether any will be in place when the casino reopens.
Early plans for reopenings call for allowing only three players at a gaming table and turning off or removing every other gaming machine to promote social distancing. It is unclear if dividers would allow for more players at a table or for machines to sit next to one another.
The acrylic dividers also can be used at restaurants and other businesses concerned with safeguarding their operations, and some businesses have been in contact with Screaming Images.
Since the dividers are being considered as a temporary safety feature, Swanson said, it’s important to have a recycling program in place for pieces once they’re no longer needed.
“The biggest thing for us is it is recyclable,” he said. “We’re going to have a program put together to make sure it’s not just thrown away in the trash can.”