Casino sale approved, but more conditions applied
The sale of the Gold Rush Casino and Gaming Parlor will now only happen if its owner agrees to triple the amount of money that must be set aside to pay back possible debts, said California Gambling Control Commission officials Thursday.
The amount must be increased from $50,000 to $150,000, said Cy Rickards, the commission’s chief counsel.
That condition is the latest in the saga of the popular downtown Grass Valley cardroom that has faced troubles since August when it was forced to temporarily close because its owner, Sue Barrows, filed paperwork three months late. The parlor was later allowed to reopen on a temporary license.
Barrows then opted to search for a buyer of the business that she had totally remodeled since purchasing it in 2002.
She entered into a purchasing agreement with the Cal-Pac Group, a company that owns one casino in Petaluma, The 101 Casino. Before that agreement could be finalized, the state commission had to give Cal-Pac its stamp of approval.
On Thursday, Cal-Pac was deemed a suitable buyer for the business by the Commission. However, Barrows must now agree to the condition of ensuring enough cash is on hand to pay any debts.
Neither Barrows nor her attorney, Robert Tabor, a gambling law specialist, were present during the meeting. Barrows said Thursday afternoon she had not yet learned of the board’s most recent conditions and therefore could not offer comment on them. Tabor could also not comment, he said he would be out of town Thursday afternoon.
Rickards said the board wanted to ensure there would be adequate reserve money in the escrow fund to pay for the recovery of fines that needed to be paid, if any, as well as the cost of any investigation or prosecution that may result from a future evidentiary hearing.
During that hearing, which has not yet been scheduled, Barrows will be able to confront accusations that have been made against her, which include several violations of the state Gambling Control Act.
“I hope that the community knows that I have done my best to make the Gold Rush a place the town can be proud of,” Barrows said. “I know there are people who support me. I haven’t asked them, I haven’t asked them (to send) letters, but I know they would. They know who I am and the kind of place I have.”
Additionally, Rickards said the money would be set aside for the payment of any and all taxes, including federal, state, local, payroll, income, and sales that are presently due, as well as, those which might accrue until escrow closes.
Alleged debts owed to Doug Moore, Barrows’ former business partner, were not discussed Thursday, Rickards said. He was, however, was listed as a creditor. During a Jan. 26 meeting, Moore said Barrows owed him and his family more than $100,000.
Cal-Pac’s vice president, Mike Owen, said Thursday he “was not trying to be evasive,” but would not comment on the board’s decision.
The next step for Cal-Pac is to apply for a gambling license for the Gold Rush. Approval of that license could occur as early as Feb. 23, the next board meeting, Rickards said.
Escrow cannot close until at least 90 days after submission of a license.
Sue Barrows, owner of the Gold Rush Casino and Gaming Parlor, must abide by the following seven conditions, which were handed down by the California Gambling Control Commission during a Jan. 26 meeting:
1. Cease and desist extension of credit, which is prohibited by Grass Valley ordinance.
2. Maintain sufficient funding to cover “Bad Beat Jackpots” and “High Hand Bonuses” as required and have those records available to the Gambling Control Division upon request.
3. Comply with ongoing requests from Division with regard to accounting records, enabling the Division to complete a financial audit.
4. Owner to refrain from gambling in the establishment unless she has a key employee on duty to supervise staff and make discretionary decisions as they arise.
5. Comply with all accounting, labor, and taxation requirements as required and requested by state and federal agencies.
6. Cooperate with the local law enforcement agencies on any criminal investigations associated with the operation of the gambling establishment.
7. Owner and employees are not to use house funds to gamble in the establishment.
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