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Gold Rush future vague

Nevada County’s only legal card room, the Gold Rush Casino and Gambling Parlor, faces a future that could mean being shut down Thursday afternoon during a meeting of the state Gambling Control Commission.

Its fate hinges on whether the commission will grant a permanent license to replace its current temporary one, which was granted in late September following a forced 44-day closure for applying for a gambling license renewal 120 days late. The temporary license expires Jan. 31.

Sue Barrows, the owner of the Grass Valley establishment, said Tuesday she would not comment on the situation until after the Thursday meeting in Sacramento.



Barrows would also not confirm or deny rumors that the business, which she purchased in 2002 for $60,000, has been recently sold. However, Sandy Kesselring of Grass Valley’s finance department said the city has received no new applications for a business license.

Within the first year of business, Barrows nearly tripled the number of regular customers at the Main Street card room, coinciding with a nationwide surge in popularity of the game.




On Sept. 29, Barrows was granted a temporary license to continue running the card room after she failed to submit a renewal application 120 days prior to its expiration date – a state requirement. Instead, she submitted it the day it was up for review, which state gambling regulations say is a reason to revoke licensure, said Anna Carr, a spokesperson for the state gambling control commission. At the time, Barrows called it a “simple” mistake that resulted from the wrong form being sent in, according to an Oct. 1 story in The Union.

Along with the temporary license, the commission tagged on three conditions:

• Either she or a licensed employee must be present whenever a game is in progress.

• Barrows must submit all applications for required licenses and work permits by their due dates.

• She must submit biannual reports by the required dates.

According to the minutes of the commission’s Sept. 29 meeting, the testimony of two former gaming parlor employees alleged noncompliance with state gambling laws. An investigation was ordered by the Division of Gambling Control, the agency responsible for possible misconduct of card clubs.

Phone calls to the division were not returned Tuesday. It is uncertain what conclusions the agency reached on the management of the Gold Rush Casino and Carr said Tuesday that much of the investigation is confidential. The card room caters to all levels of players, from the novice to the skilled. Players can choose from several card games, including Texas Hold’ Em, Blackjack, and Stud and Draw Poker, which they play against each other. Beer and wine is also served and often there is live music and dancing.

There are currently more than 115 licensed card rooms throughout California, according to the commission’s Web site. Apart from the Gold Rush Casino, the nearest gambling establishments are St. Charles Place in Downieville, the Dealer’s Choice Cardroom in Auburn, and Ginny’s Place in Marysville.

A statewide moratorium prohibiting the opening of any new card rooms is slated to expire in 2010.

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To contact staff writer Brittany Retherford, e-mail brittanyr@the union.com or call 477-4247.

Know and Go

What: Public hearing on temporary license renewal for Grass Valley’s Gold Rush Casino and Gambling Parlor.

When: 1:30 p.m., Thursday

Where: The California Gambling Control Commission meeting in Suite 100 at 2399 Gateway Oaks Drive in Sacramento.


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