California Card Rooms Ordered to Close, Tribal Casinos Remain Open

  • California Governor Gavin Newsom's closure order includes card rooms in 19 counties
  • The order is set to be in place for at least three weeks
  • Tribal casinos do not have to abide by state government orders as they are on sovereign land
  • California saw a record single-day spike in confirmed coronavirus cases on Tuesday
Front entrance of Commerce Casino
Many of California’s card rooms have to close again after Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest order. Tribal casinos are not obligated to comply. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Controlling the virus

Many card rooms in California have to shut down their operations again as the state looks to control a recent surge in coronavirus cases. The state order, however, does not apply to tribal casinos because they are on sovereign land. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order on Wednesday, closing businesses in certain sectors with immediate effect across 19 counties. The order is expected to be in place for at least three weeks and the counties represent over 70% of the entire population of the state. Newsom tweeted about the order:

Second closure

The state initially closed card rooms in March after Newsom issued a stay-at-home order. The card rooms in the 19 counties had not even been open for two weeks before having to close down once more.

Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, the largest card room in the world, is one of the properties forced to shut its doors again. It tweeted about this latest closure: 

The 19 affected counties are Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus, Tulare, and Ventura.

Tribal casinos unaffected

The tribal casinos in the counties outlined in the order are not affected because they are on sovereign land and are not required to follow orders from the state government.

get a rationale of understanding between our partners in our sovereign nations and the state of California”

Speaking about the tribes, Newsom said in a statement: “We are in deep conversations and we’ll be making public the fruits of those efforts to at least get a rationale of understanding between our partners in our sovereign nations and the state of California.”

Many of the tribal casinos in California began reopening in the middle of May despite Newsom calling on them not to. Tribes across the US frequently rely heavily on revenue from casinos to fund essential services like housing and school initiatives.

Coronavirus in California

To date, there have been nearly 240,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 6,168 deaths. The catalyst for Wednesday’s closure order is a spike in new cases over the last couple weeks. There were 8,100 new cases reported on Tuesday, the largest single-day rise in cases in California since the start of the pandemic.

In addition to card rooms, both indoor and outdoor bars will be closed, with many beaches across the state off limits as Independence Day weekend arrives. Other facilities covered in the order include museums, zoos, movie theaters, restaurants, and family entertainment centers.