State and federal officials raided Artichoke Joe’s Casino in San Bruno as part of a Bay Area-wide series of raids early Wednesday.
Two Bay Area gambling operations, Artichoke Joe’s and The Oaks Card Club in Emeryville, were both served with emergency orders to close their gambling sections, pending allegations of loan sharking, extortion, drug distribution and illegal gambling, according to a state official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It is unclear if both gambling facilities faced drug distribution allegations, the official said.
The FBI executed the warrants in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, DEA, IRS, and the California Department of Justice – Bureau of Gambling Control, said FBI public affairs specialist Alicia Sensibaugh.
Further information regarding the raids couldn’t be released Wednesday because the indictments and search warrants were still sealed, said Sensibaugh. The documents are likely to be unsealed Thursday.
Both operations were served with an emergency order to close down their gambling sections, and those sections are expected to remain closed until the operations request a hearing before the gambling control commission.
The state’s Attorney General through the Bureau of Gambling Control enforces the gambling laws of the state. An emergency order can be issued when officials believe there are violations of state law.
San Bruno Administrative Services Director Jim O’Leary, whose been in the city for 12 years, said he’s never seen anything like this before. The city receives revenue from the casino based on a table tax, and while O’Leary couldn’t give an exact figure he called the amount “significant.”
“They’ve been in business in San Bruno for close to 100 years,” O’Leary said, citing the casino as a historic part of the community.
“Artichoke Joe’s is a major business in San Bruno,” O’Leary said, adding that the casino’s closure for any length of time will have “a negative impact on the community.”