Why Are Poker Clubs Legal in Southeast L.A.?

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During the Great Depression, the City of Gardena figured that taking a cut from card room profits could help balance the books. It licensed the Embassy Palace in 1936, prompting a case where a state court ruled that draw poker is legal if permitted by a local municipality. Revenue lost from Proposition 13 and declining industry inspired neighboring municipalities to join the bandwagon in the 1980s. Today there are 89 card rooms in California, which is still less than the number of fancy coffee places in downtown L.A.

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