California Governor signs bill allowing measured cardroom growth

May 24, 2023
By
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Bill 341 will support gaming Tribes and allow expansion of small cardrooms over a 20-year period.

Assembly Bill 341 was signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom this week. The bipartisan legislation, which aims to grow the Golden State’s gaming industry, is supported by over 40 Native American Tribes in California, as well as by its cardrooms.

In March, the bill was approved in a 68-1 vote by the California State Assembly and it was approved 32-0 this month.

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

The new law restores requirements set out by the 1997 Gambling Control Act, which prohibited the issue of new cardroom licenses within the state. Bill 341 will promote sustainability of existing cardrooms in the industry for the next 20 years.

As part of creating “measured growth,” this law will allow licensed cardrooms with fewer than 20 tables to increase their size by 10 tables over the next two decades. The aim is to prevent “overexpansion.”

Up to two new tables can be added within the first year after the law takes effect, at eligible facilities. Two more tables can also be added every following four years.

Assemblyman James C. Ramos introduced the bill. He said, “I am happy to have brought the Tribes and cardrooms together in a historic consensus that has resulted in AB 341 becoming law. I deeply appreciate Governor Newsom’s support.”

Morongo Tribal Chairman, Charles Martin, said, “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.”

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