All casinos operating in California were closed during the coronavirus quarantine, but one casino couldn’t stand the sound of silence. The Towers Casino in Grass Valley, CA, opened up its card room on Monday – and was promptly ordered to close on Tuesday.

Jumping the Gun

Certain businesses in California were given the green light to begin reopening, but this permission did not include casinos. There are four phases in California’s reopening plan, and they are currently in phase two, which covers malls, restaurants, and child care centers. In each case, safety guidelines must be followed to the letter.

Casinos would be able to open in phase three, which would likely be sometime in June. However, Towers Casino posted on social media that they had already opened for business. One tweet boasted that Towers was the “first California card room to open since quarantine announced.”

Governors Read Twitter

Soon after the announcement, the card room opened and allowed players to gamble freely, however, they weren’t counting on such a swift response from officials.

California Governor Gavin Newsom was quick to order Towers to shut down, only a day after they had reopened. Gov. Newsom issued an order to the casino to shut down its operations immediately. It was not clear if the casino would face further legal actions or penalties.

Tribal Casinos Exempt

Tribal casinos like The Viejas Casino and Resort and the Sycuan Casino Resort have already opened, but their case is an exception. Tribal casinos are exempt from state law due to their sovereign status as protected federal jurisdictions. However, the governor said he would prefer that all casinos adhere to the lockdown for safety purposes, while admitting that he had no authority over them.

In response, the tribal casinos in question posted public announcements of their safety protocols, including detailed sanitizing plans, mask requirements, and plans for staff coronavirus testing.

Many casinos have begun sanitizing chips, and some have installed plexiglass shields between patrons at card tables and slot machines.

Casinos in Nevada and California are all under orders to produce detailed safety protocols and reopening plans to the relevant gaming authorities before reopening. The coronavirus is not dead yet, and state authorities want all businesses – essential or not – to follow the quarantine rules for the safety of everyone.


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A Massachusetts native, blogger Angeline Everett grew up in the Allston neighborhood of Boston and earned a degree in casino management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After graduating, Angeline moved to Atlantic City where she joined the young team at the Borgata Casino as a compliance representative, while blogging on the side. After a few years in the back office, Angeline moved to the floor to work first at a casual poker dealer and later casual poker floor supervisor. Fascinated with games of chance since she was a child, Angeline currently divides her time between blogging and work on her first book.