Artichoke Joe's card room in San Bruno to reopen with supervision 

Nearly a week after being raided and shut down by state and federal agencies, the San Bruno Artichoke Joe’s card room won approval to temporarily reopen Friday morning — with strict regulations — following a hearing before the state’s gambling commission.

The California Gambling Control Commission on Thursday voted to amend the emergency orders that prompted the closures of Artichoke Joe’s in San Bruno and The Oaks Card Club in Emeryville, a state official said.

Though both card clubs are allowed to reopen at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning, they will do so under strict regulations and with the California Bureau of Gambling Control maintaining a “presence” in the card rooms.

The Asian gambling pai gow sections at both facilities will remain closed and surveillance has been increased, according to the commission. 

Artichoke Joe’s was closed March 2 after being served with an emergency order linking it to a two-year racketeering investigation. A federal grand jury indictment alleging loan sharking, extortion and drug dealing resulted in a total of 14 arrests at both card rooms.

The bureau approved the amended order concluding that the arrests removed the threat of loan sharking from both facilities.

Both facilities can request another hearing before the commission at a later date to remove the order’s temporary status.

Artichoke Joe’s has roots in San Bruno reaching back to 1916. The casino’s owner Dennis Sammut couldn’t be reached for comment.

San Bruno annually receives about $1.4 million from the casino through a table tax. The casino employs 325 people.


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