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California Gaming Association responds to DOJ notice to cardroom industry

On June 30, Kyle Kirkland, President of the California Gaming Association (CGA), issued the following statement in response to new game guidelines issued by the California Attorney General’s Bureau of Gambling Control earlier today:

“We are in receipt of the Bureau of Gambling Control’s Notification Regarding Rules of Games Featuring a Player-Dealer Position dated June 30, 2016. While we have not yet fully analyzed these new approval and enforcement practices, we are very concerned about the substantial adverse economic impact these changes will have on our industry’s ongoing operation. We are most concerned about the effect on the 23,000 jobs cardrooms support throughout the state and the dozens of California communities that rely on the cardroom industry for valuable jobs and tax revenue, which may suffer as a result of these new policies.

“Throughout our industry’s history, California cardrooms have offered legal games compliant with the laws and regulations governing the industry and have only offered games that were fully vetted and approved by the Bureau of Gambling Control. For the past decade, our members have relied on the guidance and oversight from the Bureau in implementing lawful gaming activities and have invested millions of dollars in our communities to offer safe, high-quality entertainment to the public.

“While we are uncertain about the severity of the impact this new interpretation will have on how cardroom games must be played, we respect the Bureau and its mandate and will encourage our members to comply fully with the new practices. Our ongoing goal is for our industry to continue providing value to our communities, transparency to state and local regulators and a stable foundation for employees to enjoy rewarding work. Our industry will do whatever it can to mitigate the detrimental impact these changes will have on our businesses, our communities and the thousands of California families who depend on us.”

Four court decisions also have held that player-dealer games are legal where the players are each offered the opportunity to be the player-dealer. No court decisions require that the player-dealer position be accepted by every player and no court case or law requires that the player-dealer position rotate every two or any specific number of hands or specific time period. The Legislature considered and rejected a requirement that the position rotate every two hands. For these reasons, the California Gaming Association rejects specious arguments that the law requires the Attorney General to go further on this issue.

California cardrooms support more than 23,000 jobs statewide, generate more than $2 billion in economic activity each year and provide hundreds of millions of dollars of tax revenue to communities across the state.

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