Bill For Balanced Gaming Growth Approved by CA State Senate

California State Capitol

SACRAMENTO, CA – A coalition of tribes and cardrooms applauded the recent bipartisan passage of Assembly Bill 341 by the California State Senate, which sends the bill back to the California Assembly for concurrence in the coming days.

Passed by a 32-0 vote of the Senate on Thursday, AB341 allows for the measured growth of the state’s existing cardroom industry while also reenacting a state moratorium on new cardroom licenses that was established by The Gambling Control Act of 1997. The California State Assembly approved AB341 by a vote of 68-1 in March 2023.

The bill reinstates provisions of the Gambling Control Act sponsored by the cardroom industry that prohibited California from issuing new cardroom licenses or allowing existing cardrooms to add gaming tables in order to manage the expansion of gaming in the state. That moratorium was periodically extended by the Legislature for 25 years until it expired on January 1, 2023 due to timing constraints.

As approved, AB341 will allow licensed card rooms operating fewer than 20 gambling tables to add up to 10 new tables over the next 20 years. Eligible cardrooms could add up to two tables in the first year after the law takes effect, and up to two more tables every four years thereafter, ensuring continued growth without over-expansion.

AB 341 was introduced by Assemblymember James Ramos (D-San Bernardino). Its lead authors are Assemblymembers Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), Mike Gipson (D-Compton), Devon Mathis (R-Visalia), and its Principal Coauthors are State Senators Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Redlands). Its coauthors are Assemblymembers Evan Low (D- Cupertino) and Greg Wallis (R-Rancho Mirage).

Sponsors of the bill include the Cahuilla Band of Indians, Commerce Casino & Hotel, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Kings Card Club, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians.

AB341 is supported by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), California Cardroom Alliance, Communities for California Cardrooms, California Cities for Self-Reliance JPA, Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), Sheriff’s Employee Benefits Association, and nearly 40 tribes and cardrooms across the state.