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Several States Begin To Lift Casino Closures And Ease Restrictions

California, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts All Relaxed Rules On The Industry


Restrictions on the brick-and-mortar casino industry are gradually being lifted as some regions are getting good news with regard to COVID-19 infection rates.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted his stay-at-home order Monday afternoon, which was in place for most of the state. The businesses that were forced close that are able to operate outdoors, like restaurants, will be allowed to reopen for business.

As a method to get around the first wave of coronavirus-induced shutdowns, many California cardrooms began building outdoor tents to set up card games outside. Those same properties that implemented outdoor operations will likely be allowed to reopen. Local officials could force them to stay closed, but that seems unlikely since locales rely on the tax revenue generated by the cardrooms.

The Bicycle Casino, one of Los Angeles’ biggest casino tweeted Tuesday that they would be reopening “soon.”

Another major Los Angeles cardroom, the Commerce Casino, tweeted that it will reopen Wednesday for outdoor gaming.

According to a CBS News report, Newsom said that the state is projecting a decrease in most meaningful measures over the next several weeks.

“We are in a position, projecting four weeks forward, with a significant decline in the case rates, positivity rates, we are anticipating still more decline in hospitalizations and more declines in ICUs and that’s why we are lifting stay-at-home order effective immediately today,” said Newsom.

On the other side of the country, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is lifting one key restriction for the casino industry in his state. Baker is allowing the three Bay State casinos to return to 24-hour operations starting this Friday.

At the start of November, Baker forced the casinos to close at 9:30 p.m. In response, Encore Boston Harbor, the largest of the three casinos, closed its hotel operations. Other restrictions such as reduced capacity and limited amenities are still in place. Poker rooms at both MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor have yet to reopen.

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf shut down the casino industry for a second time in mid-Decmeber until at least Jan. 4. Wolf didn’t renew the mandate and allowed casinos to reopen shortly after the new year.