Card club wins permanent license

The California Gambling Control Commission granted Colma’s Lucky Chances card room a permanent license Thursday and found it in compliance with a state-imposed $200 betting limit, even as the club is preparing to fight that limit in court.

Lucky Chances attorney Michael Franchetti plans to go back before the commission to get the $200 cap removed after the certification of an April 11 election in which Colma voters overwhelmingly voted to allow no-limits betting.

If the commission won’t remove the cap, Franchetti says he will file a lawsuit to have a court review the decision. Certification of the election is expected next week.

“They’re willing, of course, to hear us, so it was all I could ask for,” Franchetti said.

The dispute with state gambling officials stems from a 1996 state moratorium on expanded gaming that prohibits increases in betting limits. While Colma voters approved a cap on betting in 1993, before the card room opened, the City Council voted to remove that cap before the club’s opening in 1998.

The state attorney general did not rule the City Council’s vote improper until after the club had been operating seven years. In December the commission gave Lucky Chances’ a four-month provisional renewal on its permit in response to the ruling, finding that the club needed to adopt a $200 limit to comply with state law.

Dave Hyams, a spokesman for the rival card club Artichoke Joe’s, said certification of the election is irrelevant because of a 1996 moratorium on expanded gaming that includes increased betting limits.

“The $200 limit is still the legal limit … regardless of the election,” Hyams said.

While voters may have supported that limit in 1993, however, they have since changed their minds. Taxes from Lucky Chances funds one-third of the city budget, which includes a new police station, new museum and free cable. This year, the town budgeted $3.8 million from the club for its $12 million 2005-06 budget. It stands to lose $1.8 million of that money if the limits stand.

High-stakes gambling still goes on at Lucky Chances, where bettors can make multiple $200 bets instead of one large one in poker.

kwilliamson@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocal

Just Posted

San Francisco supervisors are considering plans to replace trash cans — a “Renaissance” garbage can is pictured on Market Street — with pricey, unnecessary upgrades. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco must end ridiculous and expensive quest for ‘pretty’ trash cans

SF’s unique and pricey garbage bins a dream of disgraced former Public Works director

The Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street was one of many hotels that took in homeless people as part of The City’s shelter-in-place hotel program during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Closing hotels could disconnect hundreds from critical health care services

‘That baseline of humanity and dignity goes a long way’

Pachama, a Bay Area startup, is using technology to study forests and harness the carbon-consuming power of trees. (Courtesy Agustina Perretta/Pachama)
Golden Gate Park visitors may take a survey about options regarding private car access on John F. Kennedy Drive, which has been the subject of controversy during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

Host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park proposed

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

Most Read