CALIFORNIA – After a 25-year moratorium on cardroom expansion expired, five California gaming tribes and the cardroom industry have come together to support new legislation introduced by California State Assemblymember James Ramos that would reinstate the moratorium and allow for prudent growth of the state’s cardroom industry.
Sponsored by a coalition of tribes and cardrooms, AB341 would replace a previous moratorium established by the Gambling Control Act of 1997, which did not allow for new cardroom licenses or the addition of new gaming tables at existing cardrooms in California in order to manage the expansion of gaming across the state. The original moratorium was sponsored by the cardroom industry in order to ensure that the existing cardrooms and local governments could flourish without oversaturating the state’s gaming market. The original 10-year moratorium was periodically extended by the Legislature until it expired on Jan. 1, 2023, due to timing constraints.
AB341 would allow small cardrooms who have experienced growth in their surrounding communities to increase the number of tables they operate. Specifically, the bill would allow licensed cardrooms that operate 20 or fewer gambling tables to add up to 10 new tables over the length of a new 20-year moratorium. It would allow a cardroom operator the ability to add up to two gaming tables within the first year after the law takes effect, and up to two more tables every four years thereafter, ensuring continued growth without overexpansion.
Cahuilla Band of Indians Tribal Chairman Daniel Salgado Sr., Morongo Band of Mission Indians Chairman Charles Martin, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Tribal Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Tribal Chairman Kenneth Kahn, and Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians Tribal Chairman Isaiah Vivanco issued the following statement about AB341:
“For over 20 years, California voters have consistently opposed unfettered expansion of gaming across California and have stood with Indian tribes in support of gaming on federally recognized tribal lands. Tribal casinos have provided a pathway to self-reliance for tribes while supporting over 125,000 jobs statewide and generating billions in economic activity that benefits the state and local communities.
“We believe the proposed legislation by Assemblymember Ramos provides a balance by allowing for a measured expansion of California’s cardroom industry. We look forward to working with the Legislature, the cardroom industry and the tribal community on finding a balance that is consistent with California voters support of tribal gaming.”