Players Casino in Ventura, CA, to Get a New Home

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Players Casino, as well as the city of Ventura, CA, hopes that a new home will give it the boost it needs to get back in business. The casino, like most, took a beating from COVID-19 and shut down permanently last December. It threw in the towel four months later and filed for bankruptcy, leaving the city without one of its regular sources of income. Now, the city council has given its preliminary approval for Players Casino to reopen at a new location that will allow the money to start flowing once again.

Players Casino Gets a New Temporary Home

Players Casino, which is more of a cardroom than a full casino, has been approved to temporarily open at the Derby Club at the Venture County Fairgrounds as a measure to get back on its feet. The Ventura City Council approved the relocation last week in a 6-0 vote, with only one councilmember, Mike Johnson, not participating due to absence. The city council has to make a final decision on the relocation, which is expected to be given on November 8.

Ventura had expected to earn around $2 million in tax revenue from the casino for its 2021-22 fiscal year, but had to scramble in order to make up for the losses. By approving the relocation and the reopening, it hopes it can begin to recuperate some of the revenue and keep the city moving forward. However, the council knows that it is only providing a temporary solution that will deliver just a fraction of the money it previously received.

The city council has to approve the move due to local legislative requirements. The fairgrounds are located on state – not local – grounds, which means the city is giving up partial control. It also means that Ventura won’t be able to count on the 15% tax revenue from the casino it might have otherwise been able to receive. Because the move is only temporary, though, to get Players running again, a subsequent move, if the efforts are successful, could allow it to start collecting the tax revenue.

No Tax Revenue, But PILOT Program to Deliver Funds to Ventura

While Ventura won’t be able to count on tax revenue from the casino, it can expect a steady flow of funds once everything is in place. Through what has become known as a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program, Players has agreed to pay the city a reduced rate every year, with the agreement in place until 2025. The casino will give up 10% of its operations, and casino officials have requested to be able to defer 5% until 2027 because of the relocation costs.

Explains Players GM Patrick Berry, “I think from our viewpoint right now that the percentage, the 10% and the deferral [are] what’s going to allow us to keep in business. We don’t know what’s going to happen, and we hope nothing happens and things just go up from here. But we need to make sure we stay in business for the future. That’s really our thought.”

With an agreement on the amount reached, and based on past performances, Ventura will receive around $1.3 million a year, according to the city council. However, if the casino fails again, Ventura can cut off the arrangement and suspend Players’ license.

1 Comment

  • Aj
    November 25, 2021 at 2:58 am

    Does anyone know when players casino will open?

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