Las Vegas firm creates safety shields for use at casino slots, tables

Tuesday 28th April 2020

When casino properties reopen in Nevada following the state-ordered shutdown, safety will be a main focus for gaming operators.

Although 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 shields are made to fit the various games and serve as a divider separating the players and the dealers.

"It's us trying to take care of our existing customers," said James Swanson, Screaming Images principal. "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 various resort properties, major events like EDC and Life is Beautiful and sports entities such as the Raiders, the Golden Knights and the Aces.

The company's usual work includes design, print and installation work, with all 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 large 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.

Longtime downtown Las Vegas property the El Cortez is allowing Screaming Images to test out its creations on some of the machines and tables on the casino's gaming floor, while allowing the company to showcase its idea to interested gaming properties.

"James is really one of our best vendors by far. Very reliable and very responsive. He owns the company and yet he's still one of the ones that comes out for a new project," said Adam Wiesberg, El Cortez general manager. "So 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. So letting him use our tables and slot floor to create, design and develop this new technology, we welcomed it."

The feedback from those who have seen the various dividers, including Wiesberg, has been positive. Swanson said some hotel properties are in talks with Screaming Images regarding orders for the dividers.

Wiesberg said the El Cortez still is considering its final plans in regards to the dividers and whether any will be in place when it's able to reopen.

Early plans for casino reopenings call for only three players at a gaming table with every other gaming machine turned off or removed to promote social distancing. It is unclear if having the divider system in place would allow for more players at a table or for players to be allowed to play adjoining machines.

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 divider system is being looked at as a temporary safety feature, Swanson said it was important to them to have a recycling program in place for the pieces once they're no longer needed.

"The biggest thing for us is it is recyclable," Swanson said. "We're going to have a program put together to make sure it's not just thrown away in the trash can."

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