Kyle Kirkland, owner of Club One Casino, said that he is eager to open up the cardroom after being shut down for nearly 16 months. Photos by Frank Lopez
Written by Frank Lopez
The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to extend a vote to allow the relocation of Club One Casino to Granite Park in Fresno.
The council approved the extension to give the cardroom “ample time” to perform community outreach.
Councilmember Tyler Maxwell motioned to extend the hearing process for no more than 30 days to give Club One Casino time to reach out to more neighbors in District 4.
A vote on the matter is expected Aug. 19. If not, then the Sept. 2 meeting would be the last opportunity for approval.
Club One Casino employees were present at the meeting in support of the relocation so they could get back to work. The cardroom has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic.
There were concerns over the placement of a cardroom environment so close to a park that children and families frequent, as well as a lack of parking. Maxwell also criticized what he perceived as a the lack of community outreach on the project.
“The people that have called that community for 40 or 50 years have a lot of terrific insight and have a lot of input that they want to give,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell proposed to extend the process for no more than 30 days to give Kirkland more time to do community outreach.
He did recognize Kirkland’s communication with the city and for ancillary benefits of the cardroom, including increased security that would benefit nearby businesses.
Kirkland said that it’s well known that there is a cardroom coming to the area, and that there were discussions with Maxwell for community outreach in line with the ordinance.
“We are not going to hide what we are doing from anyone,” Kirkland said. “We are very proud of what we bring to the community and the feedback has been universally positive. In my mind, in terms of openness, we were not shy of telling people and we went out of our way to speak to media outlets to get the word out there.”
Kirkland said he is open to performing more outreach, but he did say that every month the cardroom is closed represents about $700,000 in lost payroll. The casino is expected to generate $1.5 million in annual tax revenue for the city.
Councilmember Garry Bredefeld lambasted the rest of the city council for not approving the relocation today. Councilmember Mike Karbassi also pushed for the council to approve the relocation. Bredefeld was the only member to vote “no” on the extension.
Kirkland said the cardroom would have been operational in three weeks if the relocation had been approved Thursday.