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California reinstates cardroom moratorium


California governor Gavin Newsom has signed in law AB 341 which reinstates the moratorium on cardroom expansion until 2043.

The passage of the bill means that the ban that prevents the California Gambling Control Commission from issuing new cardroom licenses is renewed. The bill was supported by both the cardrooms and the California tribes.

The 1997 Gambling Control Act imposed a 25-year moratorium on cardroom expansion. After expiring at the beginning of the year, the new law proposes a further 20-year freeze on new licenses.

The bill is retrospective from January 1 and so prevents cardrooms from taking advantage in the temporary end of restrictions to apply for new licenses.

However, the bill does contain provisions for certain limited expansion in the number of tables that a card room can offer.

Any city or county will bill able to amend its ordinances to allow a cardroom that operates under 20 tables to add up to two tables in the first year, and up to two additional tables every four years thereafter.

California tribes support California cardroom moratorium  

Chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) James Siva said that the organisation was pleased to be stopping a “potentially reckless and devastating expansion of commercial gaming in California”.

“CNIGA’s backing of this legislation is not a tacit endorsement of illegal games being offered at the state’s commercial card rooms,” he added. “We have not wavered from our firmly held position that commercial card rooms offering house-banked card games are in clear violation of the California Constitution.

“Just as tribes acted in good faith to negotiate this law, we call on the state to justify our good faith by cracking down on illegal activity at the state’s commercial card rooms.”