The historic Elks Tower in downtown Sacramento, California could be turned into an upscale casino if owner Steve Ayers gets his way. The owner of the 14 storey building on J Street has proposed to develop a high end three level casino and lounge that will operate at the 8,000 square foot facility which will be known as the Elks casino.

Ayers stated that he has sent in an application for a conditional-use permit to the city of Sacramento to operate the Elks casino which will be opened 24/7 to the public. If the conditional-use permit is approved, Elks Tower will soon become home to a casino, a lounge, restaurant, bar and a special ‘spirits library’ which will serve rare vintage beverages to its guests. The lower level of the building will be converted into a special chocolate and port area.

Ayers stated that if he received all the approvals, the facility could be completed within the next 18 months. He did not confirm the exact amount that would be invested into the project but stated that it would take millions as it would be transformed into a luxury destination with an upscale atmosphere that was similar to the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas. Ayers did not wish to disclose who his financial backers for the project were.

The City Council has not been very open to allow new card rooms to open downtown. Ayers stated that he has worked out a deal to acquire the card room permit from the owners of the Casino Royale operated inside the Red Lion Woodlake Hotel in North Sacramento. The California Bureau of Gambling Control shutdown Casino Royale in 2014 for failing to pay winnings due to its customers. The owners settled the dispute by agreeing to pay a fine of $228,980 and additional fees of $146,020 for investigation and court charges.

Ayers remains positive that the City Council will issue the necessary permits as his meetings with Mayor Kevin Johnson, City Council members, downtown business leaders and leaders of neighborhood groups have all gone well and the Elks Casino project has been well received. Michael Ault, head of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership echoed these views saying that there were no objections from his side.

In a statement, Ault said “We’ve met with them on their plans. It’s an exciting project that adds to an expanding list of options for people to come to the central city. When the arena opened, we said there would be new developments and entertainment opportunities that would come with it.”

The Elks Casino project will be subjected to a detailed process in order for the conditional-use permit to be issued. The process would involve addressing issues such as crime, traffic congestion, site specific restrictions and input from the local communities.