New Stay At Home Orders for December
Gavin Newsom announced today that 4 out of 5 regions in California would be moved into complete lockdown over the next few days. This decision is based on the ICU capacity dwindling and the need to act quickly to help stop what is hopefully the last major spread of Coronavirus.
This stay at home order includes a ban from any kind of non-essential travel that will include the hotels and resorts that the California tribal casinos thrive upon. The Bay Area is the only region that will not be shut down, although the current projections have the region on pace to hit the level required to trigger a lockdown within the coming few weeks.
California casinos have already been hit hard this year during the first shutdown that took place in March and lasted several months. Casinos were slowly allowed to open up sections of their businesses over time; however, at this point, it looks that all of the casinos must close again. There are some grey areas about restaurants, but that is not what casinos are worried about.
This stay at home order is undoubtedly needed; however, it also is going to bring a massive cost to many industries, including tribal casinos. Vaccines are seemingly on the way, but January, February, and March are more realistic dates for widespread availability for those. Until then, it seems that California will be in and out of lockdowns with little in the way of money going to in-person gambling.
Online Betting Could Have Been and Can Still Be the Answer
Once again, the pandemic shows why mobile and online betting is needed, not just for the benefit of residents and the State, but for the casinos themselves. Of course, we may never run into this issue again where travel is so limited in the Golden State. However, the millions of lost revenue would not only be gained back but multiplied by online gambling.
While tribal casinos continue to fight for exclusive sports betting for their casinos, there may not be a casino to fight for if the vaccines that are promised do not fix this issue of the pandemic in the coming year. If California and the tribal casinos can compromise and take an approach similar to Michigan’s, it could benefit all parties involved.
In taking a Michigan approach, sportsbooks must partner with casinos to get licensed, and then the casino is able to cash in on some of the revenue that a DraftKings, FanDuel, or BetMGM would make in California. This would help offset some of the lost revenue from this year as sports betting could become massive in the state.
Obviously, this change could have helped solve any issues that the casinos were facing during the pandemic. However, it can still be part of helping the healing process from the lost money. California’s state revenue is in the same boat. Legalized mobile sports gambling would bring in a huge chunk of money in a down year for revenue; however, it can still help give a boost in the coming years as California recovers and balances its books from this pandemic.