Tortoise Rock Casino

Tortoise Rock Casino in Twentynine Palms is owned by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians.

TWENTYNINE PALMS — Tortoise Rock Casino will reopen at 10 a.m. Friday, allowing customers to gamble and visit the restaurant and bar with restrictions.

The casino is owned by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, which also announced it would reopen its casino in Coachella, Spotlight 29.

Both casinos were closed on March 19 as part of the effort to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

According to the tribe, employees received base pay and benefits for two work weeks after the closure.

Casinos across the state are reopening, despite a letter Gov. Gavin Newsom sent to all gaming tribes last week, urging them to wait until California moves into stage three of the reopening.

Stage three also includes nail and hair salons, gyms, in-person religious gatherings and movie theaters. California is currently in stage two.

While they were closed, the Twentynine Palms and Coachella casinos, restaurants and all public and back-of-house locations were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, according to Bob Bogard with the Jones Agency, the tribe’s public relations firm.

The tribe has bought UV/ionization air purification equipment for Tortoise Rock and Spotlight 29.

Created by RGF Environmental Group Inc., the newly installed technology is used in health care facilities and has had documented success with validated test results showing over 99 percent reductions on similar viruses, Bogard said.

All customers and employees must wear protective masks to enter the casino and follow all rules for safety and compliance. If guests do not have masks, they will be provided free masks at the door.

Other protective measures put into place include the following:

• Employees will be tested for the new coronavirus before returning to work and will receive periodic testing for the foreseeable future.

• All guests, employees and vendors entering the casino will have their temperature checked.

• Every slot machine will be disinfected at least once per hour and after each use much as possible.

• Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed throughout the casino floor and players will be encouraged and reminded to clean their hands frequently.

• Half of the slot chairs have been removed.

• Group gaming, including table games, will not be allowed.

• The casino restaurants and bars will enact social distancing protocols, including removing seating and restructuring public areas to provide adequate space.

“Local, state and national business are slowly starting to reopen after being temporarily closed to curtail the spread of the virus,” said tribal Chairman Darrell Mike.

“We have utilized this downtime to thoroughly clean every aspect of our operations and feel comfortable slowly reopening some aspects of the gaming areas, restaurants and bars. We take the threat of this virus very seriously and will carefully monitor all aspects of all of our operations to ensure they surpass the protocol guidelines we have put in place."

(12) comments


Bad ideal.


May 21, 2020 2:19am

My question is , which politicians got kick backs , and from whom, to even open these selected places?

Especially the casino! Are people going to gamble what little money they have left? Do The people of our community

have have the financial resources to even go to the casino?

Unemployment through the roof, people getting fired , furloughed and laid off yet we can open casinos of all places ?

Thats how Turtle Rock see our community ? As an economic opportunity?

Its akin to coming upon the scene of an accident, and instead of helping, you start rifling through the accident victims pockets for the last bit of their change.

The scourge of society ( not people ) as far as businesses go and this is what's opening?

A place where countless marriages are ripped apart , jobs lost, families destroyed ,lives ruined, by casinos and gambling addiction . Not to mention second hand smoke .

They should change the name to

VULTURE-STONE instead of Tortoise Rock !

The casino is acting like a vulture with a heart of stone.

Do our local Supervisors have a hand this decision?

If they do , they definitely have a hand in the cookie jar.

No question about it.


Literally should be the LAST place that opens .



Branson Hunter

The county is setting-up warfare Among county residents: those who wear masks vs. those who wear no mask, visit casinos eat out. Both are confined spaces, breathing the same air -- this is exactly the best way to catch this virus. Don't we fight amongst ourselves too much now over politics. Now we're going to be separated even further with the careless verses the cautious? The answer is yes that's what is predicted.


I agree. Although I oppose to wearing a mask all the time, I still do it. Not for myself but for those around me. I am not really afraid of this thing but I do have concern for my fellow earthlings. Plus my job requires me too. lol.

Common sense and common courtesy or the order of the day. And I have to admit sometimes I lack both. But I try




They are not enforcing mask wearing at the casino. The masks sit on the machines or are being worn or guys beards or hanging around the neck and no one says a word. Social distancing, not happening groups of folks walking around drinking, talking loud, standing like between the end of a bank of machines and the atm's like no big deal. People totally ignoring the soc. distancing and pulling up chairs to cram themselves next to someone else. Had a heavy set woman sneezing and coughing and no one said anything. Disappointed in the lack of enforcement.


When the county dropped the requirements for masks it was GAME OVER!

Social Distancing is going to be difficult at best at many locations.

Cash is filthy and dangerous. I now quarantine my credit card if I think it has been improperly exposed to contamination.

For me it's not warfare.... it's bio-hazard.

At least the casino is trying to be safe, enforcing masks and sanitizing. Some locations are no longer doing that.

The county can roll the dice. I'm not going to. The House (virus) will always win in the end.


I guess people can take a gamble Their money and their life . NICE !

This should be Tortoise Rocks slogan.

" Come on in and becoming extinct like our mascot"

Branson Hunter

The casino gets the white T-shirt for making masks a requirement. Meanwhile, the 29th Council is absent concern for its staff and people coming into City Hall because they are opening city hall and no mask are required!


The white T-shirt? Is that some kind of old timey saying?What in the world does that even mean.

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