A Second California Cardroom Goes The Extra Mile To Reopen Outdoors

Posted on August 27, 2020 - Last Updated on August 29, 2020

While California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order closing cardrooms in his state remains in effect, operators are getting creative. There are now two outdoor California cardrooms in operation.

The new approach puts people back to work and gets revenue flowing again, albeit on a smaller level. The question now becomes: how far will this trend go?

Details on outdoor California cardrooms

Mere days after Tracy’s Stars Casino was the first to pull off outdoor offerings, Seven Mile Casino in Chula Vista has followed suit. The cardroom is now running its 25 tables under the shade of a 5,500-square-foot tent.

The operator spared no expense in the setup, working with the same tent company that services high-profile events like the Academy Awards. In addition to the shade, the makeshift “cardroom” also has air conditioning units to keep people comfortable.

Comfort isn’t the only priority, however. Seven Mile is also taking every precaution to keep guests and staff safe, including the following measures:

  • Mandatory wearing of face masks for guests and staff
  • Handwashing stations
  • Complete ban on smoking
  • Mandatory temperature checks for guests and staff
  • Contact tracing protocols
  • Chips sanitized after each game
  • Card decks replaced after each game

Seven Mile is also welcoming a variety of food trucks to the area adjacent to the tent for guests.

Perhaps most importantly for gamblers, the tent is open for business 24 hours a day.

It’s uncertain how long this will be the modus operandi for these two cardrooms. Right now, much of that depends on Newsom’s relaxing of coronavirus restrictions.

Because it may be some time before that occurs, other California cardrooms may hop onto this bandwagon. Doing so is a gamble in and of itself, however.

Why setting up shop outdoors may not work everywhere

Even with outdoor gatherings, there are still distancing requirements for California businesses. In San Diego County, patrons of outdoor businesses need to maintain at least 6 feet apart and properly wear face masks.

To comply with those requirements, cardrooms can only run as many tables as they have space to allow for that distancing. That puts a cap on the amount of revenue the operators can expect to take in.

Although it’s unclear exactly how much it will cost, the initial setup of these accommodations could get pricy. Add in the labor costs along with other overhead expenses, and it may simply not make “cents” for some cardrooms to go this route.

Right now, however, this is the only option for cardrooms in the state that want to try to capture as much revenue as they can. The profit may not be as strong as it usually is, but this demonstrates the ability of operators to adapt to nearly any situation.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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