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San Jose Cardrooms To Avoid Continued Shutdown By Operating Outside

Operators Will Still Face Similar Guidelines To Ensure A Safe Gambling Environment

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At the start of July, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered commercial cardrooms, as well as several other indoor businesses, in 19 counties to close for a second time. Newsom cited concerns over further spreading COVID-19 throughout his state.

But lawmakers in San Jose have found a way to reopen its two cardrooms. Simply operate the business outside.

The San Jose City Council voted 10-1 Tuesday in favor of allowing Bay 101 Casino and Casino M8trix to operate its business outside. The two casinos have been closed for nearly six months following the initial spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. in mid-March. Councilwoman Maya Esparza was the only member to vote against the measure.

Despite bringing the operations outside, the properties will still be required to adhere to similar guidelines as those cardrooms in counties still allowed to conduct business indoors. Face coverings will be required, social distancing measures would be taken and plexiglass dividers will be pitted between players at the table.

According to a report from the San Jose Spotlight, reopening the two venues will provide jobs to unemployed workers and revenue to the state.

“Anything Casino M8trix can do to get our employees back to work safely, to generate some much-needed tax revenue for the city of San Jose, and to provide outdoor entertainment and food and beverage to our amazing patrons, would be spectacular,” Robert Lindo, vice president of Casino M8trix told the newspaper.

The San Jose city government is reliant on the gambling industry for its tax revenue. Since the gaming shutdown in March, the projected gaming tax revenue has fallen from $18.9 million to $13.5 million.

With the decreased revenue stemming from the shutdowns, the city has proposed increasing the tax rate on cardrooms from 15 percent to 16.5, as well as allowing 15 more tables at each casino.