A Marina, California card room that has been a staple in the small West Coast city for 77 years closed unexpectedly on Friday at midnight.

Marina’s police Chief Eddie Rodriguez confirmed that Mortimer’s Card Room did close down but that his department did not get an official closing notification from the owners of the gaming establishment that has been in the Monterey County, California city since 1938, according to the Monterey Herald.

A text received by Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado on Sunday morning contained no reason for closure, only that the casino had indeed closed. Talk of re-opening the card room under new ownership is already circulating however as Frank Calamia the general manager of the Marina Club Casino located across the street from Mortimer’s, and the only other card room in the city, expressed interest in taking over the card room that shares a building with a bar and a restaurant that are still in operation.
A five percent game room tax passed in 2013 by Marina voters was cited by Calamia as the likely cause of the closing, and before the tax was passed he warned that it wouldn’t be feasible for two card rooms. At the time, the tax on gross receipts was estimated to generate $175.000 annually for the city.

The neighboring Marina Club has expanded its floor space in order to accommodate an additional three tables which will be available for baccarat, blackjack, poker and pai-gow. According to Calamia the extra tables will be needed as customers of Mortimer’s begin to flow in. The Marina Club owner said the decision whether or not to allow an owner to own two licenses in the same city would be made by officials.

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