City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

September 21, 2011
Proposal to put poker room at former Hard Rock Cafe killed

The City Council killed a proposal Tuesday night to permit a fifth poker card room in the city.

A group including the owner of the Capitol Casino on North 16th Street had sought to operate the fifth card room and proposed placing the facility in the former Hard Rock Cafe space at the Westfield Downtown Plaza.

Clark Rosa, who owns Capitol Casino, said his current card room has been a bonus to an otherwise neglected area and "if we were to go into the downtown area, we would be as great an asset."

There had been talk of opening a card room in a vacant space near the corner of 15th and L streets in a building owned by prolific developer Angelo K. Tsakopoulos. Those talks apparently faltered and the group behind the fifth license shifted its attention toward the Hard Rock location.

But the council voted 5-3 to turn back the plan to add the fifth room.

Councilman Rob Fong, whose district covers downtown, said concerns over "social costs" associated with gambling led him to vote against the proposal.

"Is that what we need more of in this city?" he said. "For me, the answer is no."

Voting with Fong were Council members Sandy Sheedy, Darrell Fong, Bonnie Pannell and Kevin McCarty. Council members Angelique Ashby, Steve Cohn and Jay Schenirer voted yes. Mayor Kevin Johnson was absent.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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