Card Rooms Try to Get Back in Business

The Palomar Card Club and Seven Mile Casino were temporarily shuttered last Wednesday

Two San Diego County card rooms raided by the FBI last week are preparing to reopen.

According to the Attorney General’s office, if the casinos want to open their doors again, they have to stop paying any current partners and shareholders.

They also have to hire a manager completely independent of the current corporations, according to a spokeswoman for the AG’s office.

Last Wednesday, FBI agents descended on Seven Mile Casino in Chula Vista and Palomar Card Club in North Park. Later that afternoon, the U.S. Attorney's office announced indictments of 25 people in connection with an alleged conspiracy to launder about $10 million in profits from high-stakes poker games.

The defendants have all entered “not guilty” pleas.

Spokespeople for both casinos say they are concerned about their employees who depend on casino operations for paychecks during the holidays.

“Especially during this holiday season, our number one priority right now is to get the card room reopened so that our 300+ employees can get back to work and providing for their families,” said Dan Hom, a public relations consultant for Seven Mile Casino.

Arkan Somo, a consultant for Palomar Card Club, said its operators are also concerned for its approximately 150 employees who are currently out of work.

The Attorney General’s office confirmed representatives of the companies are in communication with the Bureau of Gambling Control.

If the card room operators are able to meet state conditions for resuming operations, there are no local barriers within city jurisdictions.

Chula Vista City Attorney Glen Googins said Seven Mile Casino can open “for now” under its current conditional use permit.

“We are still gathering information regarding the indictment and evaluating what actions the city may consider taking under its own regulations,” Googins said. “This is a serious matter, and we are taking it very seriously.”

The same goes for the Palomar Card Club, according to a spokesman for the San Diego City Attorney, who confirmed no administrative action has been taken to remove the San Diego card club’s police permit to operate within city limits.

The City of Chula Vista receives about $500,000 annually in tax revenue from the club, city records show.

About $100,000 annually in fees and other levies go into City of San Diego budget coffers from Palomar Card Club, according to city records.

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