Posted: Mar 25, 2013 8:52 PM by Andrew Ellison - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Mar 26, 2013 10:25 AM
SAN DIEGO - The game rooms that were raided in Duval County last week were actually a pretty big source of income for the city of San Diego.
The game rooms had to pay the city $1,000 for each gaming machine that they had.
According to city records, there were 389 total gaming machines in the city, and that means the city made $389,000 in permit fees for allowing these game rooms within the city limits.
City ordinances do say that the game rooms must operate legally and not give out cash prizes.
But Lt. David Canales from the Duval County Sheriff's Department says it was only a matter of time before the game rooms started giving out cash prizes.
"Game rooms have operated in the past and not a single one of them has operated legally," he says.
The game rooms know they can't really attract business without acting like a real casino.
"You just can't make money," Canales says.
We asked San Diego City Councilman Juan Perez if he knew it would likely come to this, with the game rooms being shutdown.
"Well to tell you the truth, in a sense, yes," he says.
But Mayor Rupert Canales says, in large part, it was the money the city was after.
Canales hoped the game rooms would follow the city ordinance and the law.
"We thought we'd supplement our revenue a little bit. I mean the city is hurting," he says.
And given the possible revenue, we asked the mayor if he'd like to see a law change, and gambling allowed in the city of San Diego.
"The city could definitely benefit from that," he says.
Bottom line is most people probably knew these game rooms were going to break the law and give out cash prizes, but everyone was hoping this time might be different.
And the city gets a nice chunk of change out of the deal.
So far, the city has used some of the money to buy a $179,000 trash truck to replace their old one, which broke down constantly.
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