SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Work was underway Wednesday at San Jose’s two cardrooms, Bay 101 and Casino M8trix, to prepare for outdoor operations.
- Is Bay 101 Casino Open
- New Bay Area Casino
- When Bay 101 Casino Reopen
ABC7 News reached out to her office on Wednesday, but was told Esparza was unavailable for comment. Tuesday's decision would impact both Casino M8trix and Bay 101 card rooms in San Jose. The 10K buy-in was reduced 15% and free private jet travel from Los Angeles and Las Vegas was provided by Bay 101 Casino, as appearance fees for big shot pros. Phil Hellmuth (1989 WSOP Main Event Champion), Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Freddy Deeb, Daniel “Kid Poker” Negreanu, Layne Flack, Matt Savage, Royal Flush Girls, and Vince Van Patten at the 2011 WPT Shooting Star at Bay 101 in San Jose, California. 1788 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95112 ♣ 408.451.8888.
At Bay 101, crews were seen erecting a large, white vinyl tent directly adjacent to the main building, to house dozens of playing tables with clear plastic partitions. Electricians spent the day wiring multiple surveillance cameras above.
At Casino M8trix, also underneath a white tent, the carpeted flooring was illuminated by chandelier lights above. The length of the tent was estimated to be at least half the length of a football field.
The State of California has issued industry-specific guidelines for reopening during the coronavirus pandemic, including:
- where players touch the cards, the deck must be discarded, sanitized, or set aside for 7 days after each dealer rotation
- all chips must be washed and disinfected prior to circulation
- all chips must be replaced after each dealer rotation
- players who cannot maintain six feet apart must have barrier separation
- eating at the table is prohibited, but drinks are OK
“If there is a safe legal way for them to operate outdoors, that’s a no brainer. Absolutely,” said Raul Peralez, San Jose City Councilmember.
Because of the lockdown, San Jose has been unable to collect millions of dollars in tax revenue from the two cardrooms, and 700 employees have been laid off, according to Peralez.
“I don’t think anybody can argue that somehow that would be an essential operation that you want people to engage in. It’s not about that. It’s about the jobs, bringing back those jobs. It’s about bringing back that tax revenue for the city,” said Peralez. “And quite frankly, if it was not allowed by the state, If there wasn’t a legal, safe way to do this, we wouldn’t do it, we wouldn’t ask for it.”
Johnny Heshmati, a longtime customer, has been gambling online since the lockdown. Heshmati is looking forward to playing under the new health orders.
“I think it will add a different dynamic, right? But like everything else in the world, you know we’re we’re adapting with it,” said Heshmati. “I think it’s becoming the norm now so I don’t see it really throwing a damper on the experience or affecting things. I think you know, it’ll be just fine.”
Is Bay 101 Casino Open
Casino M8trix hopes to be open by the week of September 7. Bay 101 says it is pushing to pass inspections and reopen by the end of this week.
We’ve now entered June, and California is slowly beginning to open back up. That includes several gambling venues around the state. Unfortunately, it seems that Bay Area casinos are unlikely to reopen to the public within the next few weeks.
This part of the state has been one of the slowest to lift restrictions. Of course, the decision to reopen a casino ultimately lies with the Native American tribe that owns it. Today, we’re going to discuss when the gaming venues in the Bay Area are likely to start accepting guests again.
Let’s get into it!
Many Of California’s Casinos Have Already Reopened
California is home to a huge number of world-class gambling venues. Interestingly, all of these casinos are run by Native American tribes based in the state. California’s leaders have not yet approved commercial casinos to start operating.
Most of the casinos in this state are highly successful. That was, until March, when all of these gambling venues closed their doors to the public. For almost three months, nearly all of the casinos in California were closed.
Obviously, this couldn’t stay shut down forever. Many of the Native American tribes in the state instantly began working on ways to safely reopen to the public. These casinos sit on sovereign land, meaning they do not need specific approval from state officials to open back up.
Last month, several major California casinos began opening back up. Based on numerous reports, this was a hugely popular move. Hundreds of gamblers began flocking to these gaming venues to play.
Some areas of California are taking longer to reopen than others. That’s especially true in the Bay Area, where officials have continued setting major restrictions. It’s unlikely that the casinos in this part of the state will remain closed for a little longer than some hoped.
Here’s what we know about this situation.
Bay Area Casinos May Not Open in June
New Bay Area Casino
As we just mentioned, the Bay Area has been a little slower to life restrictions than many other parts of the state. Things are slowly beginning to get back to normal here, though. Based on what’s being said, however, casinos here are still hesitant to reopen.
Each of the three casinos in this area, the San Pablo Lytton Casino, Graton Resort & Casino just outside Rohnert Park and River Rock Casino near Geyserville, all claim that it’s too early to open back up. Enormous pressure is being set on these venues to start operating again. Many tribes rely on their gambling revenue to function.
Matt Rodriquez, City Manager for the city of San Pablo, spoke about this situation to the media this week.
“Hopefully, there may be a state-wide order issued by Governor Newsom and the state public health officer to enable California tribal gaming to reopen with aggressive protective measures in place to protect their workers and the public,” he said.
Gavin Newsom is warning the state’s casinos about the danger of opening back up too soon. If a major spike in infections takes place, it’s likely that these venues will be forced to close once again.
The three venues we listed above have not yet set an opening date. No one knows exactly when they plan on reopening to the public. If the stars align, these properties may be able to offer sports betting options later this year.
California Continues to Push for Legal Sports Betting
The popularity of sports betting continues to grow around the United States. That’s especially true now that several major US sports leagues have begun operating again. More than 20 states have now legalized sports gambling, most of which are earning a huge amount of revenue every month from this industry.
Gavin Newsom and other state leaders recognize how much money can be earned by legalizing sports betting. California has one of the largest sports fan bases in the state.
The main issue now lies with the Native American tribes in the state. Many of these tribes want to ensure that a portion of the revenue earned here is dispersed properly. These tribes are also pushing against any commercial sports gambling options being offered.
Many feel that 2020 is the year that this happens. California’s economy has taken a major hit due to the global pandemic. Legalizing sports betting is just one of many ways that the state can start to earn more money.
When Bay 101 Casino Reopen
Sports fans around the state are getting excited. Before the end of the year, we may see the state’s gaming venues, including Bay Area casinos, offering sports betting options. We’ll be sure to offer updates on this situation as it changes.
Do you think it’s time for Bay Area casinos to open back up? Will the coronavirus ever force these venues to close down again? Let us know in the comments section below!