California Gov. Newsom Signs Bill for Balanced Gaming Growth

California State Capitol

SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom signed California Assembly Bill 341, bipartisan legislation supported by more than 40 California tribes and cardrooms that will help ensure measured growth of the state’s gaming industry for the next 20 years.

The new law reinstates provisions sponsored by the cardroom industry in the 1997 Gambling Control Act, which prohibited California from issuing new cardroom licenses. That moratorium was periodically extended by the Legislature for 25 years before it expired on January 1, 2023 due to timing constraints.

The new law allows licensed cardrooms 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.

“I am happy to have brought the tribes and cardrooms together in a historic consensus that has resulted in the bipartisan AB 341 becoming law,” said Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino), who introduced the bill. “I deeply appreciate Gov. Newsom’s support for AB 341, which will help ensure the vitality of the gaming industry by allowing for measured cardroom growth without over-expansion over the next 20 years.”

AB341 was approved by the California State Assembly (68-1 vote) in March 2023 and by the State Senate (32-0) in early May. 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.

“The overwhelming support for AB 341 by state legislators, tribes and cardrooms aligns with the will of California voters who have consistently stood with Indian tribes in support of gaming on federally recognized tribal lands while opposing over-expansion of gaming across the state,” said Morongo Tribal Chairman Charles Martin.

“This new law will provide smaller cardrooms and their communities the opportunity to grow over time and create new jobs and local economic benefits without over-saturating the gaming market,” said Keith Sharp, President of the California Cardroom Alliance.

Introduced by Assemblymember Ramos, AB 341’s lead authors also included 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).

AB341 was 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 more than 40 tribes and cardrooms across the state.