Stars Casino, a card room located in Tracy, Calif., is moving to another location in that city, paving the way to add more jobs and gaming space.
In February, the city approved a conditional use permit for Stars to move to a location near the West Valley Mall. The card room is taking over a location formerly occupied by a Famous Dave’s restaurant.
The relocation to the larger facility means the casino will be able to expand capacity, be open to the public 24 hours a day, and open a full-service restaurant and bar for guests,” according to a statement. “These amendments are expected to improve and reinvigorate economic activity in the region. Once open in the new location, Stars Casino is anticipating workforce growth of 40-50% in the next two to three years.”
A soft opening is planned for the new venue on July 1 with a traditional grand opening for the public planned for later, to be determined date.
Stars, formerly known as the Comstock Card Room, is home to nearly 10 table and poker games.
In terms of gaming regulations, the primary differences between California’s card rooms and tribal casinos are twofold. First, only tribal venues can have slot machines. Second, dealers at card rooms act as the bank, not the house. The venue makes money by levying a fee tied to the table limit on each hand played.
The state’s card rooms and tribal casinos have a lengthy history of spats with the tribal operators continually asserting card rooms threaten their exclusivity pacts with the state. That’s continuing as California voters will consider a sports betting ballot proposition in November, one pitched by the tribes, that would exclude the card rooms.
Stars Casino Working Its Way Back
Like other California card rooms, Stars Casino was stung by the coronavirus pandemic. The venue was shuttered for five months in 2020 amid California lockdowns, which were among the harshest in the US.
The state’s approximately 70 card rooms are important contributors to local economies. The venues drive total annual economic impact in excess of $5.6 billion and support more than 32,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to the California Gaming Association (CGA), the card rooms’ trade group.
Stars “relocation and expansion is just one example of many where Tracy businesses are not just recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, but are now thriving and expanding, bringing additional vitality and job opportunities to our community,” said Tracy Economic Development Manager Michael Nimon in the statement.
Home to 93,000 residents as of the 2020 Census, Tracy is the second-largest city in San Joaquin County.
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