New SJ casino held up by permit problem

(KGO)
March 30, 2012 5:03:15 PM PDT
A new casino in San Jose wants to open next week, but a permit problem is standing in the way.

The new casino is ready to go just off 101 near San Jose International Airport, not far from the owner's current casino on Saratoga Boulevard. That one will close when the new one opens. While all this is sorted out, both the casino owner and the city are losing money.

The grand opening of the new Casino M8trix was scheduled for next Tuesday, but the agency that regulates gaming in San Jose says it will be another month, at best, before that can happen. The 16-story building is the newest San Jose landmark, highly visible next to Highway 101. It's ready to open, but the police department says there's going to be a delay.

"There's a lot of paperwork that needs to be submitted that is still outstanding and now, we're told that they are starting to mobilize and get that paperwork in, but there's still a lot of permitting that still has to be done," Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.

Casino owner Eric Swallow says he's baffled. "I believe I have filled out all the paperwork and I did it over the last year. So, I don't really understand why I can build a building in a year, but I can't get a piece of paper from the city in the same time frame," he said.

The delay is going to put 300 newly-hired employees in jeopardy along with more than 400 others expected to move from the Garden City card room that Swallow also owns but will close down.

"We're going to try and help them open as quickly as possible, but only as fast as we can and then still make sure that the gaming is clean, that all the licensing is clean, that the permitting is clean," Dwyers said.

Casino M8trix expects to lose $200,000 for every day the opening is delayed. The city will lose an estimated $350,000 a month. "I have a lot of money on the line, absolutely. So, I would love to get this resolved sooner than later," Swallow said.

The two sides are expected to face off in court at some point over the delay, but in the meantime, San Jose police say they are taking it very slowly because they want to comply with the city's tough gaming regulations.


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