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Council to Decide Gambling Issues Affecting 2 City Clubs


VENTURA — The City Council is scheduled to decide tonight whether one card club should close and whether another can offer high-stakes gambling.

The Ash Street Card Club, operated by the Elks Lodge, is threatened with closure due to a city ordinance that prohibits public gambling at a benevolent organization. The other item affecting card rooms involves Players Poker Club on Ventura Avenue and how much players can wager on a hand.

In the past, the city set no limit on how much a player could wager on a hand, but the state stepped in and said the city must set a limit. Without the ordinance, Players could lose its license.

Officials from the Ventura Police Department and the city attorney's office proposed a $200 limit, based on similar ordinances in other cities, and the City Council was prepared to vote April 12. But Bill Kracht, manager of Players Poker Club, said that without a limit of at least $5,000 to accommodate a game called No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em, the club would close.

At a meeting with Deputy City Atty. Karl Berger and Assistant Police Chief Steve Bowman, Kracht agreed on a limit of $2,000 per hand two days a week. The limit other days would be $200. Kracht would be able to choose the two days and would have to provide added security.

Kracht said he could live with the compromise.

"They understood the plight of my business," he said.

The Ash Street club was ordered to close April 20, after the Police Department and the city attorney's office determined that the club was catering to people other than members of the Elks. Employees from the club and the lodge attended the May 3 council meeting to appeal the decision.

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