According to Sacramento Bee, it appears that the COVID-19 pandemic will not halt the annual New Year’s parties at California casinos. Tribal casinos in the state are making plans to hold overnight cross parties.
The frightening part is that thousands of revelers and gamblers will be packed in one place. The California officials’ duties will only be to enforce COVID-19 regulations.
Nonetheless, a lot of casinos have promised to entertain less than 20 percent of their regular capacity into the party. Sounds good, right? Will it be implemented?
Currently, out of the more than 20 tribal casinos in California, at least half have indicated an interest in hosting the New Year’s party. Thunder Valley Casino Resort is planning to host 6,000 invitees. Similarly, Cache Creek Casino Resort will remain closed to the public for a private from 6 am on the 1st of January 2021.
However, out of the bunch planning for a New year’s party, Graton Resort recently canceled an event organized for 4000 VIP players. The media scrutiny unleashed on the casino was the reason for the cancellation.
Overview of Tribal Casinos in the US
As pointed out earlier, tribal casinos are not regulated by state laws instead, federal laws bind them. What gave rise to native or tribal casinos is the Supreme Court of the United States decision authored by Justice Brennan. The ruling prohibited states from taxing natives on their reservations. Based on this, some Indians took the initiative and started operation bingo and casino halls. To oversee the activities of Tribal casinos, Congress passed into law the Indian Gaming Regulatory act in 1988.
Based on this, tribal casinos have remained operational despite the COVID-19 pandemic because an entirely different agency monitors their affairs. Below is a summary of the operation of tribal casinos in the United States:
The US currently has at least 522 tribal casinos
Tribal casinos operate in 29 of the 50 states in the United States
The agency responsible for monitoring and regulating the operation of tribal casinos is the National Indian Gaming Commission
Studies have shown that tribal casinos rank among the most visited casinos in the United States
Tribal casinos generate more than 43 percent of the casino revenues accruing to the US government
Virtually all the tribal casinos are owned and manage by native Indians
The Impact of COVID-19 on Tribal Casinos
Like other state-regulated land-based casinos, tribal casinos were forced to close their doors to customers because of the pandemic. Also, tribal casinos lost huge revenues too as a result of the shutdown.
However, it seems like the tribal casinos may have suffered excoriating loss like state-regulated casinos. For instance, tribal casinos generate more than 43 percent of the total casino gaming revenue in the US. Imagine what shutting down this aspect of the economy may have caused the US government.
Not to mention the lots of employees that lost their jobs. On average, a tribal casino legal employs more than 1000 staff. Meister Economic Consulting conducted a study showing that tribal casinos in two weeks of the lockdown lost over $1.5 billion in economic activities.
Discrepancies between Tribal Casinos and State Regulated Casinos
Considering that those tribal casinos will be allowed to host New Year’s parties, some have wondered why state-regulated casinos will not be permitted to do the same. According to the Stones Gambling Hall spokesman in Citrus Heights, watching tribal casinos continue with their operations while others do not allow functioning is dispiriting.
This is the third time state-regulated land-based casinos are shut down in California. He also added that their staff is disheartened seeing other casinos operating while they remain closed. He concluded by saying that the whole discrepancy between tribal and state-regulated casinos makes no sense.
Will the Partying Tribal Casinos in California Obey COVID-19 Regulations?
Frankly, it may seem like the tribal casinos hosting New Year’s parties will obey all the COVID-19 regulations. For instance, most have promised to host less than 20 percent of their capacity at the parties.
Similarly, Doug Elmets, the spokesman of Thunder Valley, promised that their casino would follow strict measures to keep their invitees safe from contracting COVID-19.
Finally, the New Year’s parties at casinos are a remarkable event that more than 10000 customers gather to enjoy annually. Unfortunately, the pandemic has stopped that fanfare.