Is it Smart for California’s Casino Industry to Reopen?

We’re slowly creeping toward June and more states are beginning to open back. As many are well-aware, California has been one of the slowest states to resume normalcy. Many are now wondering if it’s smart for California’s casino industry to reopen at this particular moment.California

Many casinos around the country are starting to accept guests again. The effects of this are not yet known. Today, we’re going to talk about what some of the casinos in California have planned.

Let’s get into it!

Governor Newsom Begins Easing California’s Restrictions

Cases of Covid-19 are beginning to drop around the country. As a result, many states have begun easing their stay-at-home orders. In some parts of the country, many different businesses such as gyms and restaurants are now able to operate at limited capacity.

California is one of the most cautious states when it comes to reopening. Governor Gavin Newsom continued to delay opening plans for many weeks, amid heavy criticism. Only recently has the Governor began allowing certain businesses to open their doors again.

This state is just beginning to enter into what’s called “Phase 2” of reopening. That allows things like curbside retail and certain shopping malls to reopen. We’re beginning to see that these phases differ from county to county.

Back in March, California’s casino industry officially began shutting down. Casino owners recognized that these venues posed a serious risk for infection spread. Shutting down all of the state’s casinos has ended up costing a huge amount of revenue.

It may be some time before California’s leaders give casinos the official green light to resume operations. Many still feel that it’s too early to do so. According to new reports, however, many of the state’s casinos plan to open their doors before state leaders recommend.

California’s Casino Industry is Likely to Open Back Up Soon

The land-based casino industry has been devastated by the regulations around the country. The larger the casino industry, the worse it’s being affected. California is home to a huge number of Native American casinos, many of which are expressing a desire to reopen.

This state’s casinos have a unique ability to do so. They sit on Native American sovereign land, meaning they’re able to set their own regulations. That doesn’t mean that California’s leaders are pleased to hear they plan on opening back up.

Governor Newsom recently sent a letter to several of California’s major tribes. In it, he stresses the importance of safety. It’s clear that Newsom feels it’s too early to reopen California’s casino industry.

Some of the state’s casinos have already opened back up. That includes the Viejas Casino & Resort, located in the San Diego area. Despite requiring guests to wear masks and have their temperature checked, a huge number of gamblers flocked inside this venue.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher isn’t asking these tribes to shut down their casinos.

“This is a decision that is for them to make, and there is a very long and very dark history of the country of white people, in particular, telling our Native Americans what they should and shouldn’t do,” he said. “I’m not going to be a part of continuing that into the future. I respect their sovereignty.”

Based on the success of the Viejas Casino, more gambling venues in California are likely to resume their operations soon. Only time will tell how this affects the Covid-19 infection rates in the state.

Mississippi and Louisiana Allow Casinos to Reopen

As we mentioned earlier, several states have officially begun allowing casinos to operate again. That includes Oklahoma and Louisiana, both of which have large and successful gambling industries. It appears the reopened casinos are already hugely popular with locals.

Oklahoma has one of the largest Native American casino industries in the country. Many of the state’s casinos reopened recently. One saw a line of hundreds of people waiting to get inside and start playing.

Louisiana has just recently begun allowing casinos to resume operations. All casinos here will reduce their capacity to just 25%. Eldorado Resorts claims it will open three of its major casinos here over the next few days.

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves also gave casinos the green light to open last week. He advised casinos in the state to make preparations to accept guests.

Hope is that this can be done safely. States like Nevada are still looking at the safest possible way to reopen major gaming venues. If other states are successful, Nevada could get back on track faster than many expected.

Are you surprised to see California’s casino industry reopen? Is this a smart thing to do right now? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Pechanga Casino is Likely to Open Its Doors on June 1st

California is home to one of the largest casino industries in the country. Unfortunately, all of the gambling venues here are closed down due to the spread of the new coronavirus. Interestingly, the Pechanga Casino claims that it will reopen its doors to the public on June 1st.California

That’s certainly a bold statement. California has been one of the slowest states to begin reopening. Many feel state leaders will end up shutting down this casino’s plans. Today, we’re going to discuss what exactly the owners of this gaming venue expect to happen over the next few weeks.

Let’s get into it!

California’s Casino Industry Remains Shut Down

As we just mentioned, California has one of the largest and most successful casino industries in the country. All of the state’s gaming venues are operated by Native American tribes. No commercial casinos are currently allowed to operate here.

California’s casinos bring the state a huge amount of revenue every year. These venues also employ thousands of individuals. Many of the leaders in California recognize how important these casinos are for the state’s economy.

In March, Governor Newson announced that all non-essential businesses in the state would be forced to close their doors. Obviously, this included casinos. It’s been nearly two months since these measures were set in place, and all of the casinos in this state remain closed down.

As time goes on, more individuals are starting to call for California’s economy to open back up. It won’t be easy to reopen casinos, though. Even states like Nevada, which are known to rely on their gambling industry, are having an extremely difficult time finding ways to safely reopen gambling venues to the public.

Some of the casinos in California seem to be taking things into their own hands. Despite the regulations, one major casino plans on opening its doors early next month. Here’s what we know about this situation.

Pechanga Casino Plans to Reopen on June 1st

There are many world-class gambling venues based in California. It’s been incredibly difficult for many of these casinos to remain closed. Some of the most powerful tribal leaders in the state have begun discussing real plans to resume operations.

The Pechanga Casino is one of the top gaming venues in California. For weeks, the owners of this casino have looked at ways to safely allow guests in. This includes ways to maintain social distancing.

This week, the owners announced that they plan on opening the casino on June 1st. This date has not been officially set in stone, though. They are still waiting to hear more about California’s reopening plans over the next few days. Casino officials released a statement on this situation to the media this week.

“With Gov. (Gavin) Newsom and local officials poised to relax some of the statewide and local stay-at-home orders and other measures in the days and weeks ahead, we are very happy to inform you that tribal leadership has set a target reopening time frame of June 1. The actual date will be confirmed in the days ahead,” the post said. “Guests will also very likely be required to wear face coverings.”

Non-invasive temperature checks will be required for all guests. Casino officials also announced that concerts and other events will not take place anytime soon.

The Pechanga Casino is now accepting hotel guests starting on June 1st. We’ll need to wait and see how Governor Newsom responds to this announcement. It will also be interesting to see how other casinos respond.

What’s Happening in Las Vegas Right Now?

California is taking a serious hit due to the casino shutdowns. No state is taking quite as big of a hit as Nevada, though. Cities like Las Vegas are losing millions of dollars every single day as a result of its casinos being shut down.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has been extremely cautious in allowing casinos to reopen. He understands that doing so poses a serious public health risk. He also recognizes that keeping these casinos closed down could end up permanently affecting the state.

Not long ago, Nevada’s Gaming Commission decided to approve a set of guidelines to reopen casinos. This was a huge moment for all of the casino companies in this state. If these gambling venues manage to abide by the regulations, they will likely be able to reopen in the next few weeks.

Some have concerns that tourism may not recover for months. Even if casinos reopen, many are likely to have concerns over safety and may not be willing to visit a crowded venue. In reality, though, no one really knows how the city will look over the next few months.

As infection rates begin to drop, parts of the country are starting to open back up. It’s clear that Nevada’s leaders are anxious to get Las Vegas back up and running. Based on what’s being said, some of California’s casinos will start operating soon, as well.

Are you excited to hear that the Pechanga Casino is opening back up? When do you expect casinos in Las Vegas to reopen? Let us know in the comments section below!

Graton Casino in CA Furloughs a Third of its 2,000 Employees

Graton Casino & ResortThe Graton Resort & Casino is the Bay Area’s largest gambling hub, and one of Sonoma County’s largest employers.

But with a nationwide casino shutdown that’s lasted nearly two months, the casino-resort had to look into cutting costs to survive the economic downfall caused by COVID-19.

While the company was able to pay a majority of its workers and cover healthcare benefits through April, with the realization that it might be a few more weeks until casino doors everywhere can reopen again, they were forced into looking at would drastically help their business’ bottom line.

In an effort to massively reduce payroll costs, the Graton Resort & Casino furloughed a third of its employees last Friday.

Furloughs, Lay-Offs, and Management Cuts

The company’s latest move to financially protect its assets involved not only furloughs, but complete lay-offs to recent employees, and pay cuts to upper management members, says Greg Sarris, tribal chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, owner of the casino property.

According to Sarris, recognizing that coronavirus restrictions on nonessential businesses would put off the casino reopening for weeks, it became time to look into ways to help save on payroll costs to prepare for being shut down even longer.

Workers who were with the casino property for less than 90 day were laid off, while top members of management received a 20% pay cut.

Sarris says that as the company watched the virus go from bad to worse, they started asking what they had to do to make up for lost revenue during these challenging times.

Casino Workers Likely Eligible for Unemployment Assistance

When casino workers began receiving federal checks, it started to become clear that these workers would also be eligible to receive unemployment assistance.

Realizing this made the hard decision to furlough three-quarters of the casino’s 2,000 workers a bit easier, because it gave upper management peace of mind that they would receive state unemployment assistance.

According to Graton’s general manager, Lana Rivera, 350 salaries workers remain employed currently. Another 150 workers also remain employed with the casinos, in roles ranging from casino security to cleaning crews and kitchen staff.

Impact on Sonoma County’s Hospitality Workforce

The Sonoma County hospitality workforce accounts for nearly 23,000 jobs.

According to the California Hotel & Lodging Association, over a third of the county’s hotel properties have been shut down. Countywide, there are 160 hotel properties, all of which have been impacted to varying degrees due to the coronavirus shut down.

Although pay for furlough workers has ceased, many of Sonoma county’s hotel properties continue to provide healthcare benefits for qualifying workers, according to the lodging association’s CEO, Lynn Mohrfeld.

Four-Step Plan to Reopening

Sarris says he foresees a “modest reopening” for early June, and mentioned Wynn Resorts’ prediction of a Memorial Day weekend reopening for its properties in Las Vegas.

To ease California Gov. Newsom’s concerns for the casinos reopening, Sarris has developed a four-step reopening plan.

“We will work very closely with him to reopen in phases, and it’ll look a lot like a ‘Brave New World’,” Sarris said. “Machines will be 6 feet apart and you cannot take off your mask unless you’re seated at a machine. Tables will be spaced apart and only three people allowed at a time, with the dealer heavily masked.”

The casino property’s four-stage reopening plan echoes the Governor’s four-stage plan for reopening the state’s economy. However, since the tribal casino is a sovereign nation, it isn’t tied down Newsom’s statewide order or the county’s shutdown.

Sarris says he agrees with the Governor’s data and science-based approach to dealing with the outbreak, and their property will adhere to all possible safety precautions should they reopen ahead of the governor and the county.

“I’ve never had the attitude of, ‘Well, we don’t have to do what you tell us’,” Sarris said. “We are good neighbors, and we live here, too.”

State Prepares to Reopen Retail Stores, And Restaurants in Rural Counties

This Friday, Gov. Newsom is allowing the shutdown restriction to be lifted for some retail sectors, including bookstores, clothing shops, sporting goods stores, and flower shops.

These specific retail businesses will be able to resume operations, so long as local officials give their approval, and make operational changes to support coronavirus safety measures, such as having workers wear masks and other protective equipment.

The Governor said many counties across the state are preparing to reopen retail for curbside pickup Friday, which will help maintain physical-distancing measures, which will in turn help to continue to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The reopening of these retail sectors are a part of Stage 2 of the Governor’s four-stage plan and includes the reopening of restaurants and hospitality in rural counties with approval from elected leaders and health officers.

Stay Tuned

With some of the restrictions being lifted in California by week’s end, it will provide some valuable insight into how well the state will fare once sectors begin reopening and should hopefully help determine when casinos in the state can open back up.

Currently, the state has 54,937 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,254 related deaths.

We hope that the Governor’s four-stage plan will help effectively prevent the further spread of COVID-19, but the fluid outbreak situation and phased reopening of sectors will need to be monitored closely before the next steps can be taken.

What do you think about California reopening retail businesses and restaurants in rural communities? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Wilton Rancheria Gains Fire Support From the CSD

For years, the Wilton Rancheria has discussed plans to open a major new casino-resort in northern California. The tribe is now working to gain approval from various state government bodies. This week, the tribe received a guarantee of support by the Cosumnes Community Services District.

California

It’s great news for the tribe, which currently plans to open this new venue in 2021. Today, we’re going to look at what exactly this venue will have to offer. We’ll also look at the current state of California’s casino industry.

Let’s get into it!

California’s Casino Industry Remains Shut Down

All around the United States, land-based casinos are completely closed down. It’s all due to the new coronavirus, which has now infected more than 420,000 individuals around the country. It’s been devastating for casino companies, some of which are losing an incredible amount of money every single day.

Of course, some parts of the country are being affected by the casino shutdowns more than others. In places like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, this has been incredibly troublesome. A huge number of businesses are now shut down in these areas and tourism has slowed down considerably.

California is under stay-at-home orders. Essentially, residents in the state are unable to leave their homes for anything non-essential. Obviously, this means casinos in the state are unable to open their doors to the general public.

It’s still unclear when these casinos will be able to open again. Despite that fact, several tribes are currently working on plans to open new gambling venues in the state. This includes the Wilton Rancheria.

As we’ve already mentioned, this tribe plans to open a brand new casino-resort next year. This week, they’ve taken a major step forward to get this done.

CSD Agrees to Support Wilton Rancheria With Medical Services

It’s not easy to open a new casino-resort in California. Native American tribes need to gain approval and support from various government bodies. This week, the Cosumnes Community Services District has agreed to provide the Wilton Rancheria with medical services for its proposed casino-resort.

Under the current agreement, the tribe will provide the CSD with several things including a new fire truck, a one-time payment of $805,500 and an annual fee of $887,500. The agreement also makes the Cosumnes Fire Department the exclusive agency to provide fire services for the casino-resort.

Raymond “Chuckie” Hitchcock, a chairman at the Wilton Rancheria, spoke about this new agreement to the media this week.

“We’re excited for our future and our generational partnership between the tribe and the (CSD),” he said. “You are the lifeline between the safety of our future employees and patrons, (you are) the protectors of our gaming facility in the case of any structural emergency.” 

CSD Director Rod Brewer also praised the new partnership this week.

“It took a lot of years and a lot of conversations in just making sure that the stars are aligned to make sure we have something that is mutually beneficial,” Brewer said.

This is a huge move for this tribal group. With this now settled, the tribe can begin looking at construction plans. Of course, we’ll need to want and see how long it takes for the state’s land-based casino industry to get back up and running.

US Land-Based Casino Revenue Continues to Drop

As everyone knows, this is a tough time for the land-based casino industry. Casinos across the country are shut down and no one can say when they’ll open back up. For some casino operators, this will have permanent effects.

Revenue from this industry continues to drop. In New Jersey, for example, casino companies are losing millions of dollars every month. The same is happening in Las Vegas.

California casinos are hurting, as well. All of the Native American gambling venues in the state are currently shut down. There are some analysts that believe things will remain this way for at least a few months.

Despite that fact, the Wilton Rancheria is focused on opening its new casino-resort. This tribe is banking on this whole situation being cleared up by next year. With support from the CSD, this casino is on track to open in 2021.

Major casino companies continue to ask the government for financial aid. Hope is that the stimulus package provides these companies with some relief. Another package is likely to be approved in the coming months.

Stay tuned for more US casino news over the next few weeks!

A Major Poker Cheating Scandal Has Just Been Revealed

Las Vegas is home to a huge number of professional poker players. This week, one of these players announced that she’s been cheated out of thousands of dollars at a venue in California. Today, we’re going to discuss the poker cheating scandal in detail.Poker Hand

It’s troubling news for poker fans. No one wants to hear that professionals are finding new ways to work the system. Here is what we know about this situation.

Las Vegas Casinos Remain Closed

Las Vegas is the gambling hub of the United States. As everyone knows, huge number of massive casino-resorts are located here. Many of the biggest casino companies in the country are also based in this city, some of which have major properties around the world.

For the past few years, revenue in Las Vegas has been surging. Tourism has increased here and several huge new casinos are being constructed in the city. Unfortunately, things have taken a massive turn.

Since January, a new coronavirus called Covid-19 has begun spreading throughout the United States. Hundreds of cases have been recorded in Nevada and new infections are being reported every single day. This has led to the Governor forcing all casinos in the state to close their doors to the public.

This is devastating to the Las Vegas economy. Almost no visitors are coming here and a huge number of individuals are now out of work. Not even the top officials in the state can accurately say when things will return to normal.

The closing of these casinos is costing many companies here millions of dollars every single day. Many professional gamblers based in the city are now forced to play in other states. This week, one of these players revealed she was cheated out of a major jackpot.

Las Vegas Player Reveals a New Poker Cheating Scandal

As we just mentioned, there are many professional poker players that call Las Vegas home. It’s not surprising, considering there are massive tournaments being held here every single week. Due to the casino closures, some players are being forced to hone their craft in other parts of the country.

This is exactly what Marle Cordeiro is doing. Recently, the Las Vegas resident took part in a major game inside of a California casino called the Stones Gambling Hall in Citrus Heights. She’s now suing fellow player Mike Postle, who she claims cheated her out of thousands of dollars. Cordeiro’s lawyer is now asking for the money she lost in the game, along with $250,000 in further damages.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Postle had access to a phone during the game. He would use the device to see the hole cards of other players, in real-time. The lawsuit alleges that Postle was “aided by one or more confederates … who furnished him with this information, for purposes of carrying out a fraud, through one or more concealed communicative mechanisms.”

Several other lawsuits have been made against Postle over the years. Many players claimed to have lost in unusual circumstances against him. This is perhaps the biggest poker cheating scandal in recent memory.

The casino responded by saying, “Stones had no stake in who won money or lost money in the poker games. All Stones did was to provide a venue for the poker game. Plaintiffs decided whether they wanted to play, for how long, how much to bet, and in which hands to participate.”

It’s a very unusual development for the poker world. We’ll need to see how the lawsuit proceeds over the next few months.

When Will Las Vegas Open its Casinos Again?

This is the question that many residents and city officials are now asking. At the moment, both the federal government and state leaders are requesting that people stay in their homes to avoid spreading the virus. It seems to be helping things, yet thousands of new infections are still being reported every single day.

The mayor of Las Vegas is trying to argue that the city cannot survive long in the current conditions. It’s an extremely difficult time for many companies and individuals here. Lawmakers seem to understand this yet are unable to make any changes.

The truth is that no one knows when the Las Vegas casinos will open to the public once again. Several major construction projects are currently underway, despite the current conditions.

That includes construction on the multi-billion-dollar Resorts World Las Vegas. This week, another construction employee at Resorts World tested positive for Covid-19. Some now fear that many projects in the city will be forced to shut down.

In reality, the city will not truly return to normal until the virus is successfully eliminated. Even if the casinos open, very few visitors are likely to gamble inside casinos while new infections are being reported. It’s one of the most difficult situations Las Vegas has ever experienced.

Make sure to stay tuned for more Las Vegas casino news over the next few weeks!

California’s Casinos Begin Shutting Down Due to Covid-19

On January 20th, the United States confirmed its first case of Covid-19, the new coronavirus quickly spreading around the world. Since that time, more than 3,800 people have already been infected in the country with new cases emerging every hour. California’s casinos have begun to shut down and the US land-based gaming industry is now in danger. California

This is a constantly-changing situation. Every state is now setting its own regulations to combat this new virus. Today, we’re going to look at the situation in California, and discuss how casinos here are dealing with it.

Let’s get into it!

US Coronavirus Infections Top 3,800

As Covid-19 began to spread outside of China, it seemed like just a matter of time before it hit the United States. Eventually, it did, and has now spread to just about every single state in the country. New reports claim that more than 3,800 individuals have already been infected.

Most feel that the true figures are significantly higher. Despite what some are saying, the US is not testing nearly enough individuals. Based on the current trends, we are on a similar path as Italy, which now has a health care system on the brink of collapse.

The US has already banned all travel from European nations in the Schengen Zone. Airports are dealing with massive lines of Americans trying to reenter the country. It’s beginning to look like both the north and south borders of the country are going to be closed off in the coming days.

States have begun taking things into their own hands, as well. Many have decided to close down all schools. Others have shut down bars and restaurants.

More regulations are being announced every couple of hours. This is an unprecedented situation the country finds itself in no one seems to know the best course of action. As many predicted, the country’s land-based casino industry is already taking a major hit.

California’s Casinos Are Now Closing Their Doors to the Public

Officials in California are already taking strict measures to prevent further infection spread. Many feel this is too late. On Sunday, it was announced that all bars and nightclubs in the state were being forced to close down. Restaurants were lowering their capacity by 50%.

Some began expressing concern about the state’s gambling industry. California is home to a huge number of land-based gambling venues. California’s casinos help to bring the state millions of dollars in revenue every single month.

Unfortunately, many of these venues are now being forced to close down. Cache Creek Casino Resort has announced that it’s closing its doors due to concerns about Covid-19. Anthony Roberts, Tribal Chairman of the casino, spoke to the media about this situation.

“We are in unprecedented times, and our first priority must be to ensure the safety of our tribal citizens, guests, employees, and the communities we serve,” he said. 

The casino also released an official statement that talks about the plans for the future.

“As we navigate this uncertain situation, we will continue to seek guidance from the Yolo County Public Health Department and the California Department of Public Health,” the statement read. 

More of California’s casinos are expected to close their doors in the coming weeks. The state government may take New York’s strategy and force all gambling venues to shut down.

All Las Vegas Casino Resorts Are Closing Down

Las Vegas is experiencing some major issues right now. It’s no secret that the state relies heavily on its tourism and gambling industry. Unfortunately, most of the major casino-resorts on the Las Vegas Strip are officially closing to the public.

Several cases of Covid-19 have now been confirmed in Las Vegas. Tourism into the city is at an all-time low. There was no other choice than to close down the resorts here.

Wynn Resorts first announced it was closing down its Las Vegas Strip venues. Fortunately, employees will continue to be paid. MGM Resorts International followed suit and is now closing its casino-resorts on the Strip.

It’s devastating news for the city. No one really knows how the drop in tourism and gambling revenue will affect Las Vegas. Hope is that these properties are able to open to the public once again before too long.

California’s casinos are shutting down. In time, the whole state may enter a lockdown. Make sure to stay tuned for updates on the situation over the next few days.

Virgin to Build $.4.8B Las Vegas to Southern California Bullet Train

Virgin Trains USA Logo, Bullet Train View Through Window
Plans to start construction on a new high-speed bullet train, currently being known as the XpressWest, will begin during the second half of this year. Construction is estimated to take nearly three years, finishing up in 2023. It’s expected to generate over 15,000 construction jobs.

Virgin Trains USA is the company that will oversee the development. Virgin was authorized a $3.2 billion tax-exempt bond issuance from the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank at the end of last year to help fund the $4.8 billion project.

The bond issuance will help cover important project costs, mainly “hard construction costs.” This includes, but is not limited to, design and development, construction, rail system maintenance, a maintenance facility, passenger stations and more.

With one million of Las Vegas’ annual visitors coming from Southern California alone, it was the easy choice as one of the first places to implement a high-speed rail system in the US. The train will run from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada, at speeds of up to 180 miles per hour along the route. The total trip time will take around 90 minutes one way.

Saving Time is the Selling Point Over Cheaper Costs

Compared to parts of Europe and Asia that have extensive, efficient rail systems in place that make it the most viable and affordable method of transformation, the United States still lacks a solid infrastructure that makes it the most viable option for American travelers who prefer taking a quick flight over a lengthy train ride.

The country’s first high-speed bullet train that would connect Southern California to Southern Nevada will seek to address those issues by becoming an attractive transportation option by shortening travel time.

While air travel currently retails at a fraction of the cost of train travel in the US, updated technology and high-speed rail systems will hopefully reduce train travel costs if the demand is high. The most important piece of leverage to the rail system will be the time travelers will save as opposed to making the drive between the two cities. It will effectively cut the travel time by more than half.

Business travelers could also find the additional time saved as more attractive, as it would allow them to do work on the train ride versus productive time lost making the drive themselves.

Another California Bullet Train Seems Like a Distant Dream

For decades, the state of California has been trying to build a route that would go from Los Angeles to San Francisco, but it keeps getting derailed. The $77 billion project promises to “transform how Californians travel.” So what’s the hold up?

Talks of a bullet train that would connect eight of California’s largest cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, first began in 1981. High-speed rail advocates plead that the alternative source of travel would help to greatly alleviate the state’s notorious traffic issue, and clear up pollution caused by heavy vehicle use.

But, decades later, the costly plan is still in a stalemate. California governor Gavin Newsom said this in his 2019 state address:

“The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long.”

Plan Opponents

Californians who aren’t on board with the plan cite concerns of the rail system cutting into their state’s beautiful landscape, and that the high price tag won’t show high returns when the demand for this mode of transportation will be on the lower end.

“It’s an unambiguous money-waster at a time when we have many demands on public resources,” said James Moore, director of the University of Southern California’s Transportation Engineering Program, in an interview with the Guardian.

“It’s economically clear that it’s not going to turn a profit, even if we take construction out of the project, even if we just focus on operating costs,” Moore said. “By law, the system has to operate without a subsidy. The fares that would be necessary to begin to recover cost will be so high that there will be insufficient demand for that mode of transportation.”

Plan Supporters

Californians in favor of the bullet train say that a state as widespread as California, that has multiple big cities that residents regularly travel between, needs an alternative mode of transportation.

Matt Regan, the senior vice-president of housing policy for the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, points to the Bay Area housing crisis that causes 200,000 residents to drive in from the Central Valley to get to work every day.

Regan says that a high-speed rail would offer two-fold benefits: Create an easier commute for those 200,000 affected residents and reduce air pollution that’s caused by cars sitting in traffic. According to Regan, 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas is caused by idle cars in traffic.

Could California Become America’s Sports Betting Capital?

SportsbookIt’s been two years since the U.S. Supreme Court has removed legal barriers to sports betting, and in November, Californians may be asked to join 14 other states in allowing legal wagers on sports.

Should this go through, it would create an even more lucrative gambling industry in the state, worth upwards of billions of dollars and effectively creating competition among rival gambling interests in the state.

On Tuesday, 18 of California’s key Indian gaming tribes were given the green light to petition a statewide ballot initiative that would allow sports betting at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, but not at rival card clubs or the internet.

Sen. Bill Dodd, who chairs the Senate Governmental Organization Committee that oversees gaming, told Legal Sports Report this:

“Frankly, I didn’t expect it, but it really wasn’t a surprise,” Dodd said. “They obviously have firm beliefs on what they see should be happening in this area, and that’s their right. But I represent all the people in the state of California, not just the tribes. And I think our approach to this should be more holistic.”

Senator Dodd says he and Assembly counterpart, Adam Gray, will proceed with holding hearings to fill out ACA 16. The ACA 16 is a bill that is a constitutional amendment to permit sports betting in the nation’s most populous state.

The first sports betting hearing on the ACA 16 was originally scheduled for Nov. 20, 2019 at Staples Center, but it didn’t happen. The hearing was re-scheduled for Jan. 15 in Sacramento.

Tribes Unrelated to Earlier Sports Betting Hearing Delays

Despite the state’s Native American tribes opting to break off and file their own amendment, the earlier hearings were not cancelled on account of this. The biggest cause behind the earlier postponement was the California wildfires, and rescheduling constraints.

While the Native American tribes aren’t responsible for the hearing postponements, they have added extra stress to the discussion, according to Dodd.

Dodd expressed that he and Gray wanted to go into hearings with an empty slate and hear from all sides before putting together a plan for offering sports betting in the state. Now that battle lines have been drawn, that slate is all but clear.

What Legalized Sports Betting in California Could Mean

A legal sports betting market could bring in $2.5 billion in gross revenue annually in California, the largest market in the country, according to Chris Grove, a managing director for Eilers and Krejcik Gambling LLC, a research and consulting firm that has provided estimates to California lawmakers.

The market could generate $250 million to $500 million in tax revenue for the state based on whether the tax rate is 10% or 20%, Gray said.

At a hearing earlier this month, Gray said:f

“It is clear that we are quickly heading in the direction of a well-thought-out, legal sports betting framework here in California. We need to create this framework to ensure regulatory oversight and provide consumer protections to get this long-standing and emerging activity out of the shadows of the illicit or black market.”

Sports Betting Must Become Legal Online, Too

California’s system should also seek to allow betting over the internet and smartphones using state-licensed sites so the legal system can compete and reduce the black market, league officials say.

The MLB has five teams in California. This is the most of any state in the US, so “it’s really important that California get it right, particularly because this will be the largest betting market in the country and it will be a state that other states look to,” Brian Seeley, a senior league vice president and deputy general counsel for Major League Baseball, told lawmakers this month.

Senator Dodd elaborated on the importance of an online sports betting market further:

“It’s clear that if we truly want to take illegal sports betting out of the shadows, there needs to be an online component for those who won’t patronize brick-and-mortar outlets.

Without that, it will remain largely unregulated, continue to pose the risk of fraud and fail to generate funds for education or help with problem gambling.”

Tribal leaders dispute that mobile betting should be allowed and their initiative would only allow betting at racetracks and at casinos, where patrons might be more likely to participate in other gambling activities as well.

“Though sports betting remains illegal in our state, the fact remains that Californians have and will continue to wager billions of dollars every single year on their favorite sport,” Dodd said.

 

Legalization of Sports Betting Being Discussed in California

It’s been over a year since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports betting which opened the option for states to legalize it. States around the country have been taking advantage of the new opportunity since the decision was made in 2018. California is the latest to begin talks on legalizing sports betting as state lawmakers held a preliminary hearing in regards to it.

A Man Stands in Front of a Sportsbook

The push for legalized sports betting was made by Senator Bill Dodd with added support from Assemblyman Adam Gray. In the past, Gray has made unsuccessful attempts to try to get an amendment made to the constitution which allows sports betting. That amendment would need to be passed before California can join the other states where sports betting is legal.

Native American Tribes Pushing for Sports Betting

A coalition of Native American tribes is also pushing for sports betting in California to become legalized. On the heels of Assemblyman Gray and Senator Dodd’s filing of the proposed bill, the coalition filed their own paperwork in favor of legalization.

In June of 2018, it looked like the political influence the tribes held would halt the proposed bill immediately. A case was brought against the state of California and Governor Jerry Brown regarding illegal card rooms that the tribes held exclusive rights over. However, several tribes are now supporting the initiative.

The Bill Has Mainstream Support

The Sacramento Kings of the NBA are among some of the top names in professional sports that are in strong support of the California bill being passed. People in the horse racing industry are also big proponents of enabling sports wagering in California. In the past, many sports leagues were in direct opposition to the legalization of sports betting citing that it would undermine the integrity of the games being played.

Now, as more and more states are legalizing sports betting, some sports leagues are in favor of the proposed changed with one caveat. They’ve suggested that “integrity fees” be added to the bill. In other words, they’re suggesting that any wagers become taxed. Still, having names like the Sacramento Kings backing the bill can only help the initiative as it moves forward.

Which States Have Legal Sports Betting?

Nevada is the most well-known gambling state in the U.S. and sports betting has been legal there for decades. Other states with legalized gambling include Oregon, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

Several other states have either recently legalized sports betting or are very close to it. This includes Colorado, Maine, Montana, Tennessee, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Illinois, and Washington D.C.

Legalized sports betting is growing but it will still take time and patience before it is seen in every state.

How Long Will Smoking in California Casinos Be Allowed?

California is home to a huge number of popular Native American tribal casinos. At the moment, these gambling venues are some of the only enclosed areas where smoking is permitted in the state. Many are now beginning to question how long smoking in California casinos will be allowed. California

It’s a complicated issue. On one hand, the ability to smoke is attractive to many gamblers. On the other, it’s damaging the health of casino workers.

Let’s look at what exactly is going on here.

California Continues to Implement New Smoking Laws

The state of California is known for having some of the strictest smoking laws in the country. It’s not entirely surprising. Smoking has been banned inside most establishments here for many years. As we’ve already mentioned, only casinos still allow patrons to smoke indoors.

It seems like every few months, a new smoking law is introduced in California. Many of these new laws have to do with vaping. Underage vaping is becoming a serious issue around the country. Never before have so many young people become addicted to nicotine.

Juul, the makers of the most popular electronic cigarette devices in the US, is at the center of major controversy. Not long ago, officials in San Francisco, where the company is based, banned all Juul products. Some feel a state-wide ban is on the horizon.

In October, lawmakers in California also decided to ban smoking and vaping at all state beaches. This ban applies to state parks, as well. Some were quick to push against this new law. Others felt it would help to crack down on underage smoking.

Smoking in California casinos is still permitted. Still, many are now calling for this to become banned. Based on new reports on the impact of smoking on Las Vegas casino workers, this may actually come to fruition.

Smoking in California Casinos May Soon Become Banned

There are a huge number of land-based casinos in California. This is all thanks to the US Supreme Court approving the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. It’s a federal law allowing Native American tribes to operate gambling venues on sovereign land.

These casinos have escaped several regulations over the years. They are able to implement laws that are not permitted in other parts of the state. This is especially true with laws on smoking.

The times may be changing, though. Not long ago, a report detailed the health effects that second-hand smoking has on casino workers in Las Vegas. According to the report, many of these workers are now suffering from life-threatening ailments.

It’s a troubling finding that may lead to major change. In California, where smoking is becoming more and more taboo, casinos may be forced to ban it. Tribal leaders are likely to push against this for as long as possible. Smoking in California casinos helps to bring in a huge number of tourists.

Narinder Dhaliwal, director of California’s Clean Air Project, believes it’s time for this ban to be implemented. She also recognizes that it could potentially have an impact on their revenue.

“These are businesses, and even though smoking is a public health issue near and dear to our hearts, we also have to remember that they have to consider the economic impact on the tribe,” Dhaliwal said.

Las Vegas Remains the Smoking Hub Of the Country

In time, it’s likely that smoking will be banned inside these gambling venues. California is working hard to cut down on all rates of smoking. It will ultimately be up to gamblers and casinos to make this ban a reality.

In case this happens, smokers in California can still find refuge in Las Vegas. This city is home to many of the country’s best casino-resorts. In almost all of them, smoking is still permitted.

There are even a huge number of fantastic bars that allow smoking in Las Vegas. Some are small, quaint bars for cigar smokers. Others are large, grandiose cocktail bars that still allow customers to light up.

Bronson Frick, director of advocacy for Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, claims that many workers are calling for smoking in California to become banned.

“The casino workforce is the job sector most exposed to cigarette smoke in the U.S.,” he said.

Only time will tell when a ban like this will be implemented. We’ll also need to wait and see how this new rule would impact the casino’s revenue.

Stay tuned for more California casino news over the next few months!