Many media outlets recently bid a sentimental farewell to Chula Vista’s Fun-4-All, a micro-sized amusement park that had offered kids batting cages and boat rides since the 1970s. But some unexpected entrepreneurs may fill the vacuum with an adult Fun-4-Some.
The property is located on Industrial Boulevard near the L Street exit on I-5. The location is also close to Chula Vista’s new Seven Mile Casino on Bay Boulevard. According to sources, Dan Hom, CEO of the public relations and lobbying firm Focus.com, and Ryan Stone of the La Jolla–based Monarch Group, recently visited some Chula vista council offices to discuss the possibilities of opening a bingo hall in this area.
Ryan Stone, Rodney Stone, Masis Kevorkian, and Kermit Schayltz are 50 percent owners of VC Bay Properties LLC, a corporation that owns the real estate of the newly opened Seven Mile Casino in Chula Vista. Ryan Stone is also the owner and operator of two gambling halls in Citrus Heights, California.
A recent story in the U-T suggests the Seven Mile Casino gambling license may be in trouble.
On October 19, the Reader called Ryan Stone to inquire about the possibility of a bingo hall coming to Chula Vista. Stone stated, “I’m at the beginning of my investigation,. The best person to talk to is Dan Hom; he’s helping me through it. I think as we learn more maybe we can talk but for right now Dan Hom is the person to talk to.”
Hom did not return calls to the number Ryan Stone offered. However, this statement was forwarded from Hom through Olivia Stafford, the account coordinator for Focus.com:
“For almost two decades, the Stone Family Foundation has been supporting the community through charitable giving. We are presently exploring options throughout the county of San Diego to create a BINGO venue. This is a great opportunity to generate much needed funds for local non-profits because, by law and by design, 100% of BINGO revenue must go directly to non-profits. We are still in the discovery phase of this project and look forward to working with the community to identify organizations in need.”
The Stone Family Foundation has filed 990 (tax-exempt) tax forms going back a number of years. Rodney Stone, Ryan Stone, Gloria Stone, Ashley Stone are members of the board of directors. The purpose of the foundation is “To conduct or support activities for the benefit of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego.” In the last few years the foundation has given money to the Monarch Basketball Club of the Jewish Community, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, UCSD Foundation, the Jewish Federation, among others.
While many people are familiar with bingo in church settings or Elks Clubs, bingo halls in Southern California that are run by groups who hold a gambling license tend to be open longer hours and offer larger prizes. One such operation is the Bingo Club in Hawaiian Gardens, California. It is open seven nights a week until midnight. Critics have expressed concern that places like the Bingo Club are often located in low-income areas.
Chula Vista attorney Glen Googins said he hasn’t “actually seen a specific proposal” so he couldn’t comment on the pros or cons of the bingo venture.
Via an October 20 email, he elaborated, “Currently, any Bingo operation would need to comply with these rules. If someone wanted to operate a Bingo establishment under different rules they would first need to propose changes to these code provisions. It would be entirely within the City Council's discretion to approve or disapprove such a proposal. Depending upon the location and the extent of the operations, a prospective Bingo parlor operator would likely also need to obtain City approval of a conditional use permit. Depending upon the type of Bingo operations proposed, permits from the state may also be required (e.g., 'remote caller bingo').”
In California, a bingo establishment is not legal unless all the proceeds go to a nonprofit organization that has been in existence for more than three years. The organization must also be licensed by the city or the county.