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Track Owners Deal Up Card Club Plan : Gambling: The proposal for a casino at Los Alamitos would first have to be approved by Cypress voters.

October 26, 1991|LYNDA NATALI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

CYPRESS — Owners of the Los Alamitos Race Track have unveiled plans to set up a card club with legalized gambling at the race course.

In an informal presentation to the Cypress Chamber of Commerce last week, Lloyd Arnold, one of the race course owners, made public his proposal to convert 15 acres of land along Katella Avenue into the casino, city officials said Friday. The race track is in the city of Cypress.

Arnold reportedly told chamber members that the card club would be a boon to the city, generating revenue and creating hundreds of jobs. If approved, it would be the only card club in the county.

However, Arnold would first have to persuade the City Council to put it to a vote of the people, as required by state law.

Arnold could not be reached for comment Friday. No details were available about what card games would be played or the financial arrangement with the city.

Peter Brynd, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said the board listened to the presentation but did not take any formal action. Brynd declined to discuss the proposal.

Word about the card club is just starting to get out. Arnold already has won support from Jack Swank, a leader of the citizens' group that rallied residents into defeating two previous development plans for the race course property.

"The revenue to the city would be very big," Swank said. "It will fit very well in the city."

However, City Councilwoman Cecilia L. Age said she is against the card club proposal and will fight to stop it from coming to Cypress.

"I don't care why they say they are going to do it," Age said. "There is a place to do this, but not in this city."

Arnold is expected to go before the council on Monday to inform members about the gambling club plans, according to City Manager Darrell Essex. Essex said he was aware that the owners had been thinking about it, but he "wasn't sure how far they would go."

"I think this is obviously the kind of issue that the voters would have to make the determination," he said.

Proposals in recent years to bring card clubs into some Los Angeles County cities have been met with vehement opposition.

Last November, a card gambling ballot measure was defeated by a 3-to-1 margin in West Hollywood. Proponents argued it would raise city revenues, while opponents said it would invite crime, traffic and other problems.

The City of Commerce and Bell Gardens in Los Angeles County are home to large card clubs.

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