California poker room opens, gets forced to close the next day

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Posted on: May 21, 2020 6:22 pm EDT

The Towers Casino invited poker players back to the tables, only to be forced to shut back down

After being closed for 62 days, the Towers Casino announced the reopening of its card room via social media on Monday. What was not informed to customers is that this action was in clear violation of the state’s stay-at-home order. Therefore, this poker room, located in Grass Valley, CA, was raided by the California Department of Justice and all poker action was shut down one day after reopening. There is currently an active order from Governor Gavin Newsom for people to stay at home, and, even if it was softened to allow some businesses to reopen, none of those businesses included non-tribal gambling venues.

According to what the casino said before the opening, the facility was going to offer only poker and California blackjack – slot machines and other games would continue closed until further notice. “We’re following the strictest environmental health guidelines to ensure the safety and welfare of our employees and patrons,” Towers Casino wrote on social media. The two days in which this facility was open, there were pictures posted on social media accounts in which players can be seen wearing face masks and playing in a nine-max poker table. “Day 2 after COVID-19 closure. Going strong,” Towers Casino wrote on social media Tuesday. “Thanks for the support! Seat open!”

Perhaps the confusion started with the fact the Nevada County, where Towers Casino is located, ended its county-level stay-at-home order earlier in May. However, there was a clear statement from the county officials that there was a statewide order still in effect. A spokesperson for California’s Gambling Control Commission told the Sacramento Bee that cardrooms and casinos may open in the third phase of Newson’s fourth-phase reopening plan. That means that there has not been any clear indication that they can reopen anywhere in California.