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Gambling comes to Langley

Mike Gibbons plays pull tabs at the Cozy Roadhouse in Clinton. This legal form of gambling is coming to Langley’s China City sometime during the next two weeks. - Matt Johnson
Mike Gibbons plays pull tabs at the Cozy Roadhouse in Clinton. This legal form of gambling is coming to Langley’s China City sometime during the next two weeks.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

City officials were caught by surprise last week when an e-mail message from the state Gambling Commission notified them that a Langley restaurant and bar will soon be selling pull tabs.

In about two weeks, China City Restaurant and Lounge will begin selling pull tabs at its bar, according to restaurant manager, Jack Ng. Ng recently received a gambling license from the state.

The reason the gambling permit came as a shock to the city is that no sign-off from city hall is required. State liquor permits, on the other hand, must be approved by the Langley City Council to be valid.

At last Wednesday’s council meeting, Furman said the first he heard of the permit was in an e-mail from the Gambling Commission earlier in the week.

“This came as a complete surprise,” Furman said.

None of the four council members present voiced objections to the idea of pull tabs being sold in Langley. Councilmember Ray Honerlah said the gambling permit is unique in the city.

“We’re hardly talking about a cadre of Mafia runners,” he said.

In fact, China City will be one of just three establishments on South Whidbey selling pull tabs. The other two are Harold’s Gay 90s in Freeland and the Cozy Roadhouse in Clinton.

On the permit, the pull tabs are described as a “commercial stimulant.” Unfortunately for the city, they will not stimulate the public’s coffers. Langley does not have a gambling tax, nor will it unless the gambling trade expands.

“It might be considered if it becomes a popular thing,” said Mayor Furman.

Pull tabs are perforated pieces of stiff paper that are torn open to reveal a monetary jackpot. They generally sell for between $1 and $5 each and can pay off in amounts exceeding $1,000.

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