Friday, January 04, 2008

Happy Days are gone again

On Wednesday, I wrote, "Happy Days is back to their ask-at-the-cage 2x$10 match plays for January. Apparently, I will be, too." Wednesday evening, I went 0-2 in blackjack match plays, down $20.

On Thursday, I showed up to a sign on the locked door with three words: "Casino is closed."

Today, the News Tribune reports:

Employees stunned by casino's abrupt closing
A minicasino in Lakewood, Wash. suddenly closed its doors Thursday after a vendor reclaimed equipment and some unpaid employees angrily confronted the owner, who later locked them out of the building.

Owner Jerry Bolser said he lost $3 million to $4 million and won't reopen because it would be "throwing good money after bad.

"Am I disappointed?" he said. "You bet."

Some employees, who hadn't been paid in weeks, had words with Bolser on Thursday just before a planned 11 a.m. opening. One manager, Jeff Young, said he shouted at Bolser, demanding that his employees get paid before they did any more work.

He said Bolser walked into his office and shut the door. Bolser said he needed to talk to his lawyer on the phone.
The minicasino had paid $167,000 in back gambling tax payments in November, but still owed the city more than $29,000 in interest and late payment penalties. Lakewood officials moved to revoke the minicasino's's business license, but it remained open while owners appealed to a hearings examiner.

Happy Days also violated a settlement agreement with the state Gambling Commission by failing to make a payment Thursday. The minicasino owed the state agency more than $24,000 for failing to disclose financial statements.

The business signed a settlement agreement Dec. 17 and paid about half of the amount then, said commission spokeswoman Susan Arland. The second payment of $12,082 was due Thursday and wasn't made, she said.

Happy Days workers last week filed 38 complaints with the state Department of Labor and Industries about not receiving paychecks.

I've got $35 in chips. I've e-mailed the state gambling commission to see what the chips are good for, other than selling to collectors on Ebay. I'm also really curious about their $50,000 player-banked poker jackpot. That's supposed to be distributed somehow.

My guess is that the big money will be donated: WAC 230-15-415, Removing a player-supported jackpot from play says, "(2) If licensees stop operating card games or fail to maintain a valid card game license, they must immediately distribute all PSJ funds to the Washington State Council on Problem Gambling."

(Hey, it's not like I didn't have an inkling of this risk last June.)

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