Council approves first reading of changes to card rooms and betting limit

SOLEDAD — Soledad City Council has approved changes to card rooms, including upping the betting limit per hand and which card games can be played.

Pinnacle Casino owner Tammy Massa asked the City Council to reconsider the betting limit of $100 per person per hand and the types of games that patrons can play in the casino on March 7. The council brought the item to its meeting on March 21 as part of a special meeting.

Pinnacle Casino, at 955 Front St., is not open all the hours allowed to them, said Massa. The casino is open from noon to 10 p.m. on weekdays and noon to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. The casino does have an armed guard on the premises during all the hours of operation.

“It’s a very nice establishment,” Massa said. “A lot of people have come in and spoken about the difference of how it used to be.”

Massa said the casino wants to be able to compete with other card rooms within 40 miles that don’t have betting limits and are able to play all the games that the State of California allows. She proposed increasing the betting limit to $1,000 per hand and the ability to play all the games permitted by the state.

“After giving that consideration and research, we looked at a number of codes in other cities and decided the best thing to do is actually remove the dollar limit in the existing ordinance code,” said City Attorney Michael Rodriguez. “Most of the other California cities that have card rooms allow any games permitted by the State Gambling Control act.”

The concerns that arose from City Council members were if Pinnacle Casino was going to relocate in the future to a larger location that would allow for more card tables.

“My biggest concern is the if you have $1,000 betting limit, are these guys going around with cash and what’s happening two blocks away,” said Police Chief Eric Sills.

The first reading of the ordinance to allow different card games and create a resolution for the betting limits was read on March 21 and approved by the four council members present.

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