Fife City Council unanimously supports ban on new casinos, card rooms

Staff writerFebruary 27, 2014 

The City of Fife is close to banning new casinos and card rooms in the city of nearly 9,200 people, but the only two gaming businesses in the city would stay open.

City Council members voted Tuesday on first reading of the ordinance, which would ban “the creation, establishment, location, operation or licensing” of any “gambling premises” within any zoning district. Final action is scheduled for March 11. 

The proposal is one piece of an overall look at land uses in Fife, an underlying effort related to a city center plan that city officials introduced in 2012.

Fife is divided by Interstate 5 and lacks a true downtown, so the city has worked to build a plan guiding development of a city center over the next 20 to 30 years. 

Fife now has two gaming businesses – the Emerald Queen Casino and B.J.’s Bingo – both located along the Pacific Highway East corridor.

Both would stay open under the new rules because they are tribal operations and thus do not fall under city authority.

Community Development Director David Osaki said a lack of demand for more gambling facilities, plus the city’s desire for diverse land uses, led to the proposal.

Another gambling center in Fife, Freddie’s Club, closed in 2012 after filing for bankruptcy. Osaki said the closure sparked a conversation about how similar businesses mesh with the city’s plans.

“Its closure was the catalyst to have us take a look at how gambling premises fit in the city center vision,” he said Friday.

Kari Plog: 253-597-8682
Follow Kari on Twitter: @KariPlog

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