Biggest Fear During Vegas Strike: Bed Bugs Infestation

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Bars and restaurants will likely be shuttered throughout many of Las Vegas' top casinos should a city-wide strike be authorized beginning June 1, but the real horrors could be the lack of housekeeping services as the gambling Mecca becomes vulnerable to the dreaded bed bug (plural, as they appear in groups).

After more than 50 years of virtual elimination in the U.S., bedbugs have made a roaring comeback over the last decade, spreading most rapidly in the last six years, according to Richard Cooper, a research entomologist and vice president of BedBugCentral.com, Fox 5 Las Vegas reports.

"Bedbugs don't discriminate," says Cooper. "They're not a sign of poor hygiene, but people still say, ‘I wouldn't get bed bugs.' That attitude has fostered the spread."

They typically fester in bedding, with poor housekeeping protocol making matters worse.

Understand the Impact of a Strike if You Plan on Visiting Vegas in June

Housekeeping workers will join restaurant workers at the picket line should contract demands not be met by June 1. Rooms will lack in cleanliness, thus creating a perfect environment for these blood sucking parasites.  Throw in a bunch of dirty poker players, a number of whom will probably already be carrying these nasty little critters in their suit cases ....it doesn't take an active imagination to realize the potential consequences here.

"A strike is a last resort. We want to come to an agreement, but the union and workers are preparing for a citywide strike if contracts are not settled by June 1,” Geoconda Argüello-Kline, secretary-treasurer for the Culinary Union, said in a statement after workers Tuesday voted 90% in favor of allowing the authorization of a strike.

Bed bugs are parasitic insects in the genus Cimex that feed exclusively on blood, primarily that of humans.

Such an action would likely cripple Vegas at a time when the World Series of Poker comes to town.

Contracts for the culinary and bartenders unions at 34 casinos expire at midnight May 31, covering around 50,000 workers, according to Culinary Workers Union Local 226. They include bartenders, room attendants, servers, cooks and kitchen workers. Housekeeping workers would also be striking.

Affected employees work at nearly half the properties on the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas, including Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Stratosphere, Treasure Island, The D, Downtown Grand and El Cortez.

Caesars Entertainment will be hosting this year's World Series of Poker.

Bed Bug Incident

Last year, Gambling911.com reported on a bed bug incident that allegedly occurred in the famed MGM Grand Las Vegas, prompting an immediate response from that property.

"We take great pride in both our amazing resort and our world-class customer service at MGM Grand Las Vegas," said Gordon Absher, Vice-President of Corporate Communications for the hotel, in an exclusive interview with Gambling911.com. "The case generating so much recent social media activity was limited to one guest and one guest room.

"We follow strict protocols, and, on the rare occasion we receive such a complaint, we respond quickly," he continued. "Contrary to what many might think, these pests do not occur as a result of hotel sanitation issues, but are instead carried into hotels by visitors from all parts of the world.

"This is therefore an issue that must be constantly managed by hotels around the globe. We believe our team and protocols are among the best in the industry."

Stephanie Mejia and her partner retained an attorney in light of the incident.

Bed bug bites are several types more inflamatory than that of a mosquito

Los Angeles attorney Mike Petikyan told Gambling 911: "I have been hired by Stephanie Mejia, Valerie Herrera and their daughter. Our intention is to reach an amicable resolution with MGM and it is possible that we file a lawsuit if we cannot. Our investigation is on-going and I will not comment in detail."

It was not immediately clear if any settlement had ever been reached between the parties.

Dirty Poker Players Could Lead to Bed Bug Infestation

Poor hygienic practices, well illustrated among some participants in past World Series of Poker events, could further exacerbate the situation.

Poker pros have tweeted about their experiences in previous years:

Mario Ho:  "And here I thought I was home free with an empty seat to my left for two hrs only for it to be filled by another smelly guy. Odor Tally +1."

2:59 PM Jun 19th from Tweetie

Doyle Brunson:  "they should have a hygiene policy at tournaments. Some foreign guy sat next to me and smelled so bad i almost gagged at the table"

1:20 PM Jun 17th from web

The site PokerTips.org has gone as far as to warnagainst staying at the WSOP host hotel, the Rio, and cited the hygiene factor.

"While it can be really convenient staying at the Rio and thus being just a short walk away from the WSOP action, it can also run the risk of driving you insane. The Rio is not a part of the Las Vegas Strip. In the summer, it effectively becomes an island of poker players. While that might sound exciting right now, it can get really tiresome after just a couple of days. Poker players are annoying, smelly, and disgusting people who stand in the hallway complaining to someone who isn't listening about how their Ace-King got cracked. It doesn't take a whole lot of exposure to that environment before the thought of getting the hell out of there sounds fantastic."

Now just imagine if the housekeepers are on strike.

"The situation could be ten times worse," warns Gambling911.com Senior Editor, Payton O'Brien.

- Nagesh Rath, Gambling911.com

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