The California Gaming Association wants to see all casino gaming shut down in the state due to the rise in coronavirus cases. The group recently sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, urging him to use his power to cause all casinos to close, including tribal venues. The position of the organization is, that if we are all in this together, then we are all in this together.
The association represents card rooms in California but does not cover the tribal gaming venues. Once 19 counties were told to rollback the reopening process, the association sent a letter to the governor, urging the full closure of the industry.
Public Health Matter:
While commercial gaming venues have been shut down, the tribal casinos continue to offer services. Thunder Valley Casino has been in the news as of late, as current and former workers say the venue is not doing enough to protect employees as well as guests. The tribal casino reopened in June.
The casino responded to the backlash by stating that they have protocols in place to protect everyone. Such protocols include mandatory mask-wearing, social distancing, and sanitization. The tribe has been able to continue to operate due to being on sovereign land, but many are now questioning if that law supersedes the public health issue.
According to the California Gaming Association, it does not. In their letter, the group pointed out that the tribal compact states that the tribe is not to conduct gaming in a manner that ‘endangers the public health, safety, or welfare.’
Because of this section of the compact, the Association feels that the governor can force these casinos to close. However, it might be a bit more complicated.
On July 1, Governor Newsom held a coronavirus update and stated he is working with tribal leaders to make changes to keep guests safe. However, it has been two weeks since this statement and the Governor has not stated if the plans came to fruition.