YAKIMA - Card rooms operating in unincorporated Yakima County, of which there currently are none, are no longer required to pay the county a 20 percent tax of the establishment's gross receipts.
Tuesday morning, Yakima County commissioners voted to lower the card room tax. According to Yakima County officials, card room operations, before the change, were required to pay taxes at a 20 percent rate based on the amount of gross receipts multiplied by 20 percent. The amendment to the gambling tax ordinance lowers that percentage to 10 percent.
The change in the card room tax was prompted by a request from someone who is in the process of trying to set up a card room in unincorporated Yakima County.
Yakima County Commissioner Jim Lewis said although the tax was lowered, the amendment is something commissioners plan to revisit when a card room is actually established in the unincorporated area of the county and is in operation. He said at that point, once the impact of the tax is realized, commissioners will have a chance to decide if the tax will stay at 10 percent or be raised or lowered.
Lewis explained that the taxes levied against card rooms by the county go into the county's general fund. He noted that at this point 86 percent of the county's general fund goes toward criminal justice, so it is understandable that some of the funds raised would ultimately go to help pay for any extra law enforcement needed in regards to a card room.