As stay-at-home restrictions ease, SoCal’s casinos gamble on reopening

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Michael L. Fennell says he has spent a good portion of his 70 years gambling, so he knows the difference between a long shot and a sure bet. And he admits his decision to step inside a casino during a global pandemic was a bit of a gamble.

Patrons get their temperatures taken upon entering Morongo Casino, which reopened for the first time on May 22, 2020 since closing on March 17, 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
Patrons get their temperatures taken upon entering Morongo Casino, which reopened for the first time on May 22, 2020 since closing on March 17, 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

“Everything we do now is a gamble,” he said after stepping away from a slot machine at Morongo Casino Resort and Spa for a cigarette break. “We’re going through rough times now.”

But, he added “it feels like it’s getting back to normal.”

Morongo’s two casinos, by Interstate 10 about 30 minutes outside of Palm Springs, were among six tribal casinos in Riverside and San Bernardino counties that partially reopened Friday after a two-month shutdown caused by the spread of COVID-19.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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