California Poker Room Defies Stay-At-Home Order and Gets Shut Down

Across the United States, casinos, card rooms and other gambling establishments have been shut down for months now. The goal of the shut down was to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Over the past few days, we have seen several states start to reopen or consider the process. However, for some business owners, they don’t want to wait any longer and are reopening anyway, despite orders in place keeping certain businesses from providing services. The Towers Casino in Grass Valley, California recently opened up and was shut down just one day later by the state’s Department of Justice for defying the order.

Raiding the Facility

The Towers Casino is a small gaming facility in the northern portion of the state, offering poker gaming, a restaurant and a bar. The facility reopened on Monday and started offering poker gaming, posting about their games online via social media sites. It did not take long for the law to get involved and by Tuesday, the venue was raided and shut down.

Upon reopening, the casino was offering only poker and their blackjack games, slots and other gaming options were not on offer. On social media, the casino stated that they are following health guidelines to protect employees and guests. In photos of the poker action, players can be seen wearing masks.

According to the Sacramento Bee, which first reported the story, the reopening of the facility seemed to be in defiance of the stay-at-home order that Governor Gavin Newsom issued. The order was recently softened a big to allow some businesses to reopen. However, the rules do not apply to any type of gaming facility.

Raid Caught on Video

On Tuesday, the California Department of Justice sent agents to the Towers Casino. During the raid, several employees as well as players took out their smartphones and recorded the action. Agents were wearing tactile vests and face masks. They tried to explain to players why the shutdown was taking place.

One player asked if the casino was going to be shutdown permanently. The agent responded that it was not and that this was only an emergency closure. Because the venue opened before they were allowed to, the DOJ can shut them down.

In one video found on social media, the owner of the casino says that she was not given notice that she should shut down. She said the local police department asked her to shut down, but she did not receive any communication from the gambling association or bureau staff.

She continued to rant during the video, stating that the raid was unconstitutional and that she has a right to be open. She continued to yell at the agents trying to plead her case.

In the state, gaming facilities are supposed to be able to open by Phase 3, unless that changes in the future. The state has just started allowing businesses to reopen so Phase 3 is still a long way from now.

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Jacqueline Packett