Fife to take another look at gambling premises

City Council extends moratorium on card rooms, casinos; will revisit proposed ban

Staff writerMay 9, 2014 

Months after considering a ban on new casinos and card rooms, the city of Fife has shifted its approach on the issue.  

The Fife City Council extended a moratorium on gambling premises April 22 in order to review an alternative approach to opening new gaming businesses in the city limits.

The city already has two along the Pacific Highway East corridor – the Emerald Queen Casino and B.J.'s Bingo – but both fall under tribal authority.

The ongoing discussion about whether to allow the businesses is part 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 downtown core, so the city has worked on a plan to develop a city center over the next 20 to 30 years.

David Osaki, community development director, said the recent change in direction regarding casinos is in response to an alternative business model that intrigued city officials.

Osaki has said the city desires more diverse land uses and found there's a lack of demand for more gambling facilities. Therefore, a stand-alone gambling facility didn't fit in with the city's vision. 

Now, officials are interested in exploring an approach that would allow casinos as part of a larger development or business, such as a hotel.

"Hotel development has always been high on our radar," Osaki said Friday. "We're looking at the issue in a different way."

The city's planning commission will review the issue before it comes back to the council for a vote.

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

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