help_outline Skip to main content

DSA In the News

Raided Bay Area card clubs, including Artichoke Joe's Casino in San Bruno, get OK to reopen

Published on 3/10/2011

Artichoke Joe's Casino and the Oaks Card Club, which were shut down by police on allegations of loan-sharking and drug dealing, won approval Thursday to reopen one minute after midnight Friday.

The club owners got the green light from the California Gambling Control Commission, whose three members voted unanimously to allow the clubs to resume operations temporarily as long as they agree to certain conditions such as retraining employees and not reopening their Asian gaming tables, said commission spokeswoman Pamela Mares.

Both card rooms had been closed since state and federal officers raided them March 2. Police spent at least two years investigating Artichoke Joe's, in San Bruno, and the Emeryville-based Oaks Card Room on allegations Asian gangs were selling drugs and loan-sharking in the casinos. Police said the loan sharks advanced cash to broke players at exorbitant rates and threatened violence for nonpayment.

Oaks' attorney could not be reached for comment. But the phone message at the Oaks said the club will reopen at 10 a.m. Friday. Artichoke Joe's will open its doors at 9:30 a.m., with gaming starting at 10:30 a.m.

Alan Titus, an attorney for the owners of Artichoke Joe's, said by phone late Thursday that they were not aware a crime had occurred, and if they had been they would have taken action.

The gambling commission spokeswoman said Oaks owner John Tibbetts and Joe's owner Dennis Sammut, in their comments at the commission's meeting in Sacramento, condemned the alleged crimes that had gone on at their establishments.

Police have arrested 15 people.