TRACY, Calif. (KTXL) — The stakes are high at Stars Casino in Tracy and the business is going all-in.
“We went through our reserves rather quickly because without income and fixed expenses, it’s hard to survive,” said Stars Casino CEO Emmanuel Macalino.
Macalino says the casino is now the first card room in the state allowed to reopen with outdoor gaming.
“For us to have an opportunity to rehire employees and provide them with employment and a paycheck, at the same time run a viable business, it’s a great opportunity for us,” Macalino told FOX40.
Gamblers braved the heat at the green felt tables, which are now outside, for a chance at a winning hand.
Macalino says it means a lot to him and his employees to be back at work.
“Our employees, especially after since the 600 stipend ended last month, this last month they find it hard to survive,” Macalino said.
So, instead of folding, Macalino chose to do the best he could with the hand he’s been dealt. He worked with state and county health officials to implement strict safety guidelines.
“Before you even enter our premises you’re required to go through a thermal screening and that will take your temperature. And also, in addition to that, everyone is required to wear a face mask,” Macalino said.
Hand sanitizing stations are easily accessible and each person’s seat is wiped down after they leave the table.
“We hope that it will serve as a model for other card rooms and other businesses to follow,” Macalino said.
On a typical Saturday, 30 to 40 people fill the tables inside.
This afternoon, there were less than a dozen people total with only three or four players at a table. Though the cards may seem to be stacked against him, Macalino is encouraged by the turnout so far.
“We really emphasized not on profits but on the safety and security of everyone that entered, enters the promises,” Macalino explained. “I emphasize to my team that in making that a priority, then the business will happen naturally.”
Right now, Star Casino has limited their hours.
They’re now operation from noon to 4 a.m. everyday but hope to return to their normal business hours soon.