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Northern California casinos are nearly ready to open doors -- cautiously.

Northern California casinos are nearly ready to open doors -- cautiously.

Two months after closing because of the corona virus pandemic, Northern California’s casinos are gearing up to reopen.  But as retailers and other segments of the broader economy begin to awaken from the COVID-19 shutdown, the Indian tribes that operate the region’s casinos are reconfiguring their venues to accommodate public health guidelines.  Exactly when the slot machines will start chiming again remains uncertain.  JC Rieger, general manager and senior vice president at Harrah’s Northern California in Amador County, said recently they’ve, “ been kind of looking at the end of the month, first of June.”   Tribal casinos in California have become an $8 billion a year business, and the Sacramento area casinos operate as many slot machines as Reno’s.  The abrupt shutdown of the industry in mid-March has depleted the tribes of their main revenue sources.  Rieger said Harrah’s might close some or all of its smoking sections to keep the air cleaner.  Fewer slot machines will be available, which Riegar added, “is kind of the industry standard.”    Other area casinos, including Jackson Rancheria, Thunder Valley, and Red Hawk, have not said when they might reopen.  Because tribes are considered sovereign nations, they have the authority to reopen their casinos regardless of what the governor says.                                                                     

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