No full house: South Bay card room forced to close, again


CHULA VISTA, Calif. — There aren’t too many card rooms in San Diego County, but those like Seven Mile Casino in Chula Vista are being forced to shut down once again.

County officials Monday ordered many businesses that serve the public — including card rooms — to close down all indoor operations for at least the next three weeks. Only card rooms in certain California counties have been ordered to close, and that order doesn’t include any tribal casinos.

“The fundamental difference between a California card room and a casino is that we only have card games. We don’t have slot machines or any other games of chance,” said Brad Samuel, head of marketing for Seven Mile Casino.

Samuel says the the gaming establishment put in a tremendous amount of work to reopen after they were first shutdown in March. Safety measures started before a customer even steps foot inside the card room — there were handwashing stations outside, temperature checks and every employee and customer were required to wear a face covering at all times.

“When you did sit down to play cards, everyone was socially distanced or we have the plexiglass divider … so that level of protection is something we took very, very seriously,” Samuel said.

Councilmember Mike Diaz says that for the city of Chula Vista, Seven Mile Casino is more than just a card room — the business generates more than $200,000 in revenue per quarter.

“If this card room stays closed for a long period of time, it could equate three firefighters that have to lose positions because there’s no funding there and that equates to public safety,” said Diaz, who represents District 4.

Diaz said he realizes card rooms have been dealt a bad hand, which is why he’s cashing in his chips to help get the business back on its feet.

“A card room like this at the local city level does so much for the community and that’s why I’m here. They’re just a great partner in the city of Chula Vista,” Diaz said.

This week the California Gaming Association wrote a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, asking him to close all gaming operations.

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