Casino M8trix opened at 8:00 Wednesday morning. The timing may seem a little odd for a casino until you understand the reason behind it. A ribbon-cutting also took place Wednesday morning to take full advantage of a number considered lucky in Asian culture, 8. The scissors came out at 8 a.m. on the eighth day of the eighth month of the year.
The mayor called it a lucky day indeed for all of San Jose because of all the jobs and tax revenue Casino M8trix will generate for the city. The new $50 million establishment replaces the old Garden City venue and the private investment in the state-of-the-art casino is already paying off. Because of regulations, it's a card room with no slot machines. San Jose's two card rooms fork over a 15 percent tax on revenues which is expected to amount to about $15 million a year since Casino M8trix is a 24/7 entertainment venue.
It will also employ 800 people, 300 more people than the old casino. Khahan Daniels went from unemployed to being able to help support his two children. "It's just a weight off my shoulders. I feel very proud as a man to wake up every day and provide for your family."
So while Casino M8trix is all about elegant entertainment, Wednesday's speeches were more about the win-win deal for the city. "This is a big project, employed over 1,200 construction workers. We currently have 787 employees working here and we're confident we're going to be the largest contributor to the city coffers," said Casino M8trix owner Eric Swallow.
"This club alone will generate more tax revenues for the city of San Jose than Valley Fair and Santana Row combined," Mayor Chuck Reed said.
Casino owners were hoping to open in April, but there were months of permitting delays because of strict regulations and security requirements.
"It's got to be clean, it's got to be on the up and up, there can't be any blind spots. Everything has to be out in the open and transparent," said San Jose Police Sgt. Jason Dwyer.
Each casino is allowed 49 card tables, but Casino M8trix wants some of those tables to be on the eighth floor, so high rollers can have a view. Bay 101, the other casino in town, is fighting that proposal.
"We're still wanting to open the tower and waiting for approval and waiting for the police chief on that. It's an exciting day, but were still waiting in the wings," said Casino M8trix owner Eric Swallow.
For now the ground level action is certainly attracting the crowds.
"The energy is very positive, just really enjoyed it, of course we are coming home with a couple of little goodies and we also made some money," said customer Gloria Nishita.
In November voters will have the chance to decide if they want the city to allow an additional 30 card tables at each casino. That would bring the total up to 79 card tables at a casino. The mayor has not yet taken a position on it.
Casino M8trix is planning a very lavish, red carpet, Las Vegas showgirls-type grand opening on August 18.