Governor Gavin Newsom finally gave Los Angeles poker rooms the green light to reopen this week for the first time since November. But the card rooms will be forced to operate under strict guidelines that may not be appealing to some poker players.
The California governor lifted a county-wide ban on in-person dining, live poker, and other activities. Los Angeles County has the most coronavirus cases (1,085,044) and COVID-19 deaths (15,592) of any county in the country, by a wide margin. As a result, Newsom has taken extreme measures, which clearly hasn’t been working, to limit the spread of the virus.
The Democratic politician, however, is hopeful the county can turn it around. As such, he is now permitting restaurants and card rooms to begin accepting customers outdoors. That means if you’re looking for a legal card game in Southern California, you’ll have to play outside.
There are some additional restrictions imposed by the governor, including seating capacity. Card rooms are only permitted to operate at 50 percent of the maximum allowable room capacity as determined by fire code. So, it would be wise to call ahead to put your name on a wait list. Otherwise, you may end up waiting for hours. As soon as the doors open, you can rest assured hundreds of poker players will be excited to play.
Los Angeles Poker Rooms Ready to Get Back into Action
It’s been nearly two months since a legal poker game ran in Los Angeles County. The area is home to some of the biggest and best card rooms in the world. That includes Commerce Casino, which boasts more than 200 poker tables. Gardens Casino and Bicycle Casino (“The Bike”) also have more than 180 tables.
But the number of tables available will be limited for quite some time due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each of the Los Angeles poker rooms will offer seating outdoors in a makeshift covered room. That’s been the norm in most California casinos since the coronavirus struck last year.
Newsom initially forced the poker rooms statewide to close in March. He then permitted Los Angeles’ card rooms to reopen in June, but then ordered them all to close a couple weeks later. They were allowed to reopen for a second time in early October before getting shut down just after Thanksgiving.
Third time’s a charm? That’s what poker players in the area are hoping for. But it all depends on if businesses reopening lead to another spike in COVID-19 cases.