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PORT ORCHARD, WA-Fresh from the fight over Hank’s Country Inn’s mini-casino proposal, the City Council has decided to outlaw casino gambling, including house-banked card games, in the city.

Port Orchard officials have been contemplating the casino issue since February, when the owner of Hank’s, a Belfair-based casino, sought a conditional use permit to open a casino in the West Bay Shopping Plaza on Bay Street. The council denied the request.

But the application brought pressure on the council, mostly from gambling opponents and many of whom cheered and clapped following the council’s vote. . Local business owners and residents complained a casino would cut into their livelihood and the town’s quiet way of life.

Said City Councilwoman Carolyn Powers at Monday’s meeting: “I feel very strongly that by prohibiting (casinos) we are adding to the quality of life in Port Orchard.”

The ban includes all house-banked card games. The ban will not affect the existing card room at the Hi-Jo bowling alley in the city, because it is not a house-banked operation. Players at Hi-Jo pay a fee to play cards.

Port Orchard joins more than 50 cities in the state that have opted to outlaw gaming, including nearby Poulsbo and Tacoma.

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