500 Club Casino re-opens in California following official raid
After being closed on August 16 following a raid by agents from the California Gambling Control Commission, the 500 Club Casino in the Fresno suburb of Clovis has reportedly re-opened.
According to a report from The Fresno Bee newspaper, the twelve-table casino was shuttered amid accusations from the California Gambling Control Bureau that its operation did not possess sufficient cash to cover the chips in use. However, the owners of the property disputed this allegation and allegedly claimed that they had enough funds via the club, bank accounts and card room vault and additionally had access to a bond worth approximately $800,000.
Although the terms of the re-opening deal with the California Gambling Control Commission were not disclosed, the newspaper reported that the 500 Club Casino had earlier been requested to certify the independence of its ownership and provide “a report detailing the source of all funds” related to gambling activities. The state regulator had also sought to revoke the license of owner Louis Sarantos and deny any chance of a renewal.
The Fresno Bee reported that the California Gambling Control Commission had wanted the 500 Club Casino to pay fines and penalties as well as the costs of any investigations. The regulator subsequently requested that Dusten Perry be fired as the Fresno County venue’s general manager and be replaced by a new state-approved employee that would oversee all financial and staffing operations and provide regulators with regular profit-loss statements.
This is just the latest misfortune to hit the 500 Club Casino after June saw the venue accused of failing to disclose loans from unlicensed individuals including one who reportedly held a felony conviction. California regulators also alleged that at least one key employee did not hold the appropriate license.
One of about 90 such card rooms in California and employing around 265 people, the 500 Club Casino was accused of a similar infraction in 2015 but was allowed to retain its license while the investigation continued. This authorization is due to expire at the end of the month and it remains unclear whether officials intend to grant the venue permission to carry on beyond this date.
The Fresno Bee reported that closing the 500 Club Casino could seriously impact revenues for local officials in Clovis as last year saw the central California venue contribute taxes worth $420,000 while it paid $460,000 to the city of 106,580 people in 2015.