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(l-r) Thomas Gede, Colin West, and Ryan Hoyler, of Morgan Lewis. (l-r) Thomas Gede, Colin West, and Ryan Hoyler, of Morgan Lewis.

Can California’s tribal casinos reopen while California’s stay-at-home order remains in effect? In March, California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s series of COVID-19-related executive orders indefinitely shut down a wide variety of brick-and-mortar business in the state, including 64 Tribal casinos and their associated restaurants, entertainment venues and hotels. While certain states have begun to, or plan to, reopen parts of businesses, California has announced no concrete plan to do so. Unlike many businesses—like restaurants—that continue to operate at reduced capacity, casinos are effectively shuttered, and many are eager to reopen. And, unlike most other California businesses, it is not entirely clear that tribal casinos—which operate on tribal lands and are run by tribal authorities—must follow the California state government’s directives on whether and how they operate.

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