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Wine Country Cardroom requests more hours, ability to provide credit

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Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 7:41 am, Wed Feb 1, 2012.

The Lodi City Council will decide whether to give the only cardroom in Lodi the option to open up for 24 hours a day and give credit to players.

Owners of the Wine Country Cardroom will be at the council meeting at 7 p.m. tonight asking for a variety of changes to the city's cardroom ordinance.

In addition to extended hours and extending credit, the owners would also like a cap on the amount of revenue they are required to give to the city.

Representatives from the cardroom did not return calls for comments. They have previously discussed the changes with the News-Sentinel, and said they are necessary to compete with other cardrooms in the area.

They are requesting the cap on city contributions to do more advertising and promotions, the general manager said in a previous article.

Neither Lodi Police nor the community development departments have received any complaints or had enforcement issues with the business at 1800 S. Cherokee Lane. It opened in May 2007.

Lodi Mayor JoAnne Mounce said the council has talked about the original cardroom agreement in closed session, but cannot comment on what they discussed before Wednesday's meeting.

Mounce did say that she has enjoyed going to the cardroom to eat, and it has been a successful business for Lodi. She said it is a good sign that city staff has had no problems.

"They've not been a burden, but they've been actually been helpful in filling the city coffers," Mounce said.

Here is what the cardroom is asking for:

The ability to be open 24 hours a day: Under the current ordinance, the cardroom can be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.

The cardroom owners would instead like the ordinance to say they can be open for up to 24 hours a day, but not more than 140 hours a week.

Customers are going to Manteca, Jackson or Sacramento because they do not want to wait for games to start at 8 a.m., cardroom employees have said in a past article.

Credit and checks: The owners would like the city to allow them to cash personal checks and issue credit to customers through an outside company.

In the past, the owners have said applying for credit would take longer than one day. Players would have to apply to qualify for credit, and an outside company would conduct an extensive background check.

Adjust the fees the cardroom pays: The cardroom is required to give 9 percent of its revenue to the city to go into the General Fund, which pays for most of the city's services, like police, fire and library.

The revenue for 2010 was $310,887. The projected revenue for 2011 is $358,520.

The cardroom would like to cap revenue contributions at $20,000 for the first $240,000 of gross revenue received through operations. After that amount, the owners recommend that they give the city 4.5 percent of gross revenue.

With the change, the fee for 2010 would be $35,443 less for the city. For 2011, it would be $59,260 less.

Tables and number of players: The cardroom would like to add two more tables and no longer have a limit on the number of players per table. The owners would also like to allow gaming in any room with an exterior unlocked door, as opposed to the current requirement that all card tables and players are plainly visible from the front door.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. tonight at Carnegie Forum, 305 W. Pine St., Lodi.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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