A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has granted the financially troubled Huntington Park Casino a temporary restraining order allowing it to offer seven-card poker games.
The county district attorney's office considers seven-card poker a form of stud poker, which is illegal in California. But Judge Irving Shimer decided to allow seven-card games to continue at the club until June 26, when a hearing is scheduled on the club's request to permanently keep Huntington Park police from shutting down the games.
Since the 70-table casino opened in March, 1984, the club has had financial problems. Six months after opening in an industrial park near Watts, it filed bankruptcy, claiming debts of more than $4 million. Back taxes totaling more than $25,000 are still unpaid to the city.
To attract new players, the club went to court last fall and was given permission to offer pai gow, a complex Chinese betting game. Police officials maintain that pai gow is illegal.
Three weeks ago, the district attorney's office ordered Huntington Park Police Chief Geano Contessotto to halt the seven-card games. Club owners complied with the cease-and-desist order until Shimer's favorable ruling Friday allowing them to offer the games again.