Club owners in California concerned over new gambling regulations

Gambling regulations in California could soon change and the prospects are causing significant concern among the state's card rooms.  California's Bureau of Gambling Control (BGC) has been leading a number of public workshops on new regulations, but hasn't detailed what changes could be made or why new rules might be implemented and the card rooms are worried that they will have to give up a number of games, including blackjack and other card games where players normally bet against the house.

Under current law, card rooms are not allowed to receive financial benefit from the outcome of card games - that is reserved to only Native Indian-owned casinos.  However, many card rooms use third parties to act as bankers for the tables, which are licensed by the state.  The use of bankers has been called into question by the Native tribes, who are pushing for the practice to be dissolved. 

Stephanie Shimazu, director of the BGC, has indicated that the agency is only gathering information, adding that the workshops are scheduled to continue through next March.  She explains, “We are in the very early stages.  We haven’t drafted anything.”

California has 66 card clubs that employ 23,000 workers and which generate around $300 million in taxes each year.  The card club operators believe that, if the tribes win and the banking practice is eliminated, they could be forced to give up as much as 70% of their operations. 

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