Some casinos run by Native Americans are set to reopen, not subject to US laws

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Some casinos in San Diego are reopening their doors this week, many with new safety guidelines in place. Credit: Pixabay.

Several San Diego casinos are taking a gamble with COVID-19 this week and are reopening. Because these casinos are on Native American reservations, they have tribal sovereignty and aren’t subject to U.S. laws, including stay-at-home orders during the pandemic. 

Governor Gavin Newsom is urging the casinos to reconsider opening, but there’s not much he can do about it. Tribal government officials say the decision is partly due to a need for tax revenue to support local services such as hospitals, schools and fire departments. 

“They have around 2,000 slots each. Those will be operating at half capacity. So we’re easily talking about thousands of people,” says Andrea Lopez Villafaña, reporter San Diego Union Tribune.