Although few people knew it, some card parlors were legal in Santa Monica until this week.
According to City Atty. Robert M. Myers, several old ordinances regulating the parlors were cleared from the books in 1981 by city officials who mistakenly believed that state law prohibited gambling on a variety of card games. What they didn't know was that the California statutes did not cover some of the games that local ordinances did, and when they threw out the old Santa Monica laws, some card parlors suddenly became legal.
Recently the city attorney's office discovered the error.
"This is just something (we) . . . decided could be a problem in the future," Myers said. "The city has never permitted this in the past and no one has tried to establish it in the city."
Myers said it is unlikely that card parlors could have sprung up in Santa Monica if someone had discovered the gap in city law. "Had someone tried to set up a card parlor we would have adopted the ordinance at that point and it would have been illegal," he said.