San Diego

Judge Grants Hollywood Casino Liquor Permit

Those opposing permit said the casino draws heavy traffic and when combined with alcohol it threatens the security of the community

Judge Adam Berg ruled in favor of granting the Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego a conditional use permit to serve alcohol last Thursday.

Earlier this year, NBC 7 Investigates identified the increase in the number of traffic accidents, some involving drunk drivers, within proximity of the casino.

According to CHP data, on an 11-mile stretch of State Route 94 that includes the casino, there were 99 traffic collisions during the casinos first seven months of operation. Since 2000, the data shows there was an average of 92 collisions per year.

Opponents said the casino draws heavy traffic and when combined with alcohol it threatens the security of the community.

In a 30-page decision, Judge Adam Berg determined selling alcohol at Hollywood Casino is not contrary to the public welfare or morals. The decision gives the casino its conditional permit indefinitely. It had been previously operating under an interim liquor license, renewable every four months. Casino visitors won't notice any change in beverage service as a result of this decision.

San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob joined two other government agencies protesting the liquor permit.

In a statement, she said, "this decision is a big slap in the face to the community and tells us the state is more concerned about keeping casino executives happy than protecting public safety. If state officials won't do what's right and prohibit alcohol, then San Diegans should stay away from the business and not gamble with their lives.”

Jamul Action Committee President Glenn Revell also expressed his disappointment with the judge’s decision.

"We believe the hearing officer both had the authority and the discretion to make a different decision,” he said. "I don't believe JIV (Jamul Indian Village) got everything they wanted. We certainly got very little of what we wanted as community members."

In a statement to NBC 7 Investigates, Erica Pinto, with the Jamul Indian Village said: "We are grateful Judge Berg saw past the opposing attorney's attacks on our Tribal sovereignty and right to exist. Judge Berg's recognition of our sovereignty is a sharp rebuke of the unfounded accusations that our opponents have tried to label us with for years."

In a previous statement to NBC 7 investigates, Pinto said, “we are not aware of any DUI incidents involving our casino patrons.”

Hollywood Casino did not provide a statement or comment to NBC 7 Investigates.

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