The California gaming association has sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom with a request that the governor temporarily suspends the work of all state casinos. It is yet to be confirmed if the state can order the sovereign Thunder Valley Casino to close.
The Gaming Association in California Urges the Governor to Temporarily Close All Casinos
The California Gaming Association sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom asking the Governor to temporarily shut down all casinos in the state. In light of recent COVID-19 cases spike in the state, the Governor ordered entertainment venues to close, including card rooms. With that being said, the association, which actually represents cardrooms in the state but not tribal casinos, asked the governor to close those venues as well.
In its letter, the CGA pointed out: “The Tribe shall not conduct Class III Gaming in a manner that endangers the public health, safety, or welfare, provided, however, that nothing herein shall be construed to make applicable to the Tribe any state laws or regulations governing the use of tobacco.” According to the association, it is inconsistent for all entertainment venues to close their doors and at the same time to have the tribal casinos continue to operate.
CGA president, Kyle Kirkland commented on the subject by saying: “Our position is, if we are all in this together, we are all in this together.” He continued by saying that actions are needed when public health and safety is at risk.
Will Thunder Valley Casino Close Its Doors?
One casino in the state that may be affected if Governor Newsome orders for casinos to close is the Thunder Valley Casino. The casino is operated by a tribe which makes it sovereign. This however raises a question as to whether the state officials can order such shutdown, considering the sovereign nation’s status.
With that in mind, local news outlet ABC10 reported troubling stories from current and former Thunder Valley casino employees. According to its employees, the operator needs to take more measurements in order to safely operate in the post-COVID-19 environment or close its doors. One employee said: “I think we should be sitting back and waiting, especially when the numbers are increasing again.“
Thunder Valley casino did not wait long to respond. In a response to the allegations, Doug Elmets, spokesman for the operator, rejected the allegations. Elmets pointed out that the operator has implemented health and safety protocols for all employees and guests. Among the safety measures, masks are mandatory within the inside of the premises, social distancing is introduced as well as frequent cleaning of high traffic areas.
Elsewhere, in Nevada, the Boyd Gaming has announced that the company is laying off some 25% of its workforce. This makes some 2,500 employees which will be laid off. But Nevada is not the only state where casino workers were laid off. Earlier this week, some 4,000 employees of Vernon Downs, Tioga Downs, Resorts World New York City and Rivers Casino Resorts World Catskillsreceived notification that they will be laid off.