For almost a year now, businesses in the United States have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Every type of business has been impacted in some way, but entertainment facilities have been hit specifically hard. Take cardrooms for example. Unlike casinos, cardrooms have been shut down more often than not as they are offering poker gaming in a more social setting. The virus is heavily contagious so it is important to limit contact with others or have certain steps in place to ensure protection. In San Jose, California, cardrooms have been affected and the city does not want to have to deal with restrictions any longer.
To try and stop another shutdown, the city has taken matters into its own hands. The City Council voted this past week to unionize with other municipalities where cardrooms are located. For San Jose, the city is trying to protect the Casino M8trix and Bay 101. By teaming up with other municipalities, the city’s can stop any regulations that might close the cardrooms from operating.
According to a report on the matter, the City Council voted 10 to 1 to be a part of the California Cities Gaming Authority. The local governments depend heavily on these cardrooms for funds and cannot afford another shutdown. The cities actually operate basic services with these funds, so a shutdown would harm the cities in more ways than one.
The only person to vote against the join was Mayor Sam Liccardo. He feels that any gaming expansion in the city should be stopped and apparently does not think this step is needed regarding keeping cardrooms open.
How Does the Group Work?
The California Cities Gaming Authority will act like a lobbyist would. In each city that involved, a council member must be on the board. That member will need to attend meetings and take part in discussions. The authority will work with cardrooms as well as other stakeholders to ensure the operations are represented in the state.
The group will work with lawmakers and hope to have support from casinos. The goal is to protect the cardrooms and have influence over policy measures that are current and being considered in the state. The most recent meeting of the group took place in November. Inglewood, Colma, and Gardena were the first cities to become part of the group.
Both Gardena and Inglewood are located in the southern portion of the state and were part of a shutdown order enacted by Governor Gavin Newsom. For San Jose, the local casinos were not affected by the mandate of the governor. However, the county issued strict regulations that forced the cardrooms had to shut down.
Back in March, San Jose was able to avoid a shutdown when the virus first started. Casinos were able to offer tents and provide gaming outside to try and slow the spread. Card games could take place outdoors but now that colder weather has arrived, it has led to the need for a different tactic for operations.