California Casinos Discussing Plans to Reopen

While all of the country has been hit hard by the coronavirus, the pandemic has taken a huge toll on the state of California. California Governor Gavin Newsom has taken some drastic steps to try and stop the spread of the disease, and those steps have hurt the economy in the state.

There is a big casino industry in the state of California as well, and all of the casinos are currently shut down due to the pandemic. There are both commercial card clubs and tribal casinos in the state, and the tribal casinos are beginning to plan to reopen.

Tribal casinos do not have to adhere to state laws or the executive orders given out by Newsom. These casinos are located on federally recognized reservations, and they are able to have their own government system.

All of the tribal casinos in California decided to shut their doors in an effort to stop the spread, but they were not ordered to do so by the state. Even though Newsom has continued to extend the shelter in place order in California, these casinos are now planning to open their doors to the public.

Native American governments rely on the gaming industry as their main source of economy, and several tribes are convinced that they simply cannot wait any longer. Governor Newsom is hoping to convince these tribes to reconsider their plans, as he claims the coronavirus still presents a big danger to the state.

Newsom recently penned a letter to the Native American tribes urging them to alter their plans to align with the statewide plan to reopen. Health officials have advised Newsom to begin to reopen some parts of the economy in the state, but casinos are not in this part of the plan.

The First To Reopen

Win-River Resort and Casino became the first tribal casino to reopen in the state, as they did so on Saturday. Win-River is located in the town of Redding, which is in the northern part of the state.

Win-River announced that they will be open 24/7 moving forward, but they also implemented several health and safety measures to keep both customers and employees safe. Social distancing measures will be strictly enforced at the resort, and they will limit the number of patrons that can be inside at any one time.

Table games are not yet open to the public, but they will begin being played on Wednesday. Food and alcohol are currently not being served at Win-River, and everyone must wear a mask before entering the casino.

California is currently in phase two of the reopening plan, and it’s unclear when some areas will advance to phase three. Newsom has asked the casinos to wait until their surrounding neighborhoods move into phase three before they open their doors.

Newsom made it clear that he is not asking them to wait for authorization before they begin opening their doors. He is hoping that tribal leaders will step up and do the right thing.

Commercial card clubs are at the mercy of the state government, and they must receive permission before they can open. These clubs are expected to be given that permission when the state moves into phase three of the reopening plan.

The American Gaming Association reported on Saturday that there are now 55 casinos reopened throughout the United States. Some states will be reopening by the end of May, and that number will grow tremendously.

There have been more than 75,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of California, and the disease is responsible for more than 3,000 deaths.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.