Pro-cardrooms group Communities for California Cardrooms (CCC) launched Monday a new media campaign “to expose special interests that are trying to abuse the legislative process to diminish competition in the marketplace,” according to their statement. The coalition is targeting tribal casinos, which it says have been allowed to benefit from “an unprecedented expansion.”
Since 1995 there has been a moratorium on gaming expansion in California that limits the number of licenses and tables for cardrooms, the group claims. However, the coalition argues that, simultaneously, the State of California has allowed gambling related to Tribal Casinos to expand, having signed compacts with 79 tribes.
“These compacts do not limit the hours of operation of the casinos, nor do they limit the number of tables allowed to operate,” Communities for California Cardrooms denounces. “Moreover, tribal facilities operate over 80,000 gaming devices statewide.”
The existing moratorium on gaming is set to expire on December 31, 2022. According to the CCC, this issue has been “at the forefront of stakeholder negotiations for the past five years” and the group has been working with the legislature “to establish a new moratorium that allows their licensed cardrooms to expand the number of tables with local government approval.”
“Any conversation centered around extending the moratorium on the expansion of gambling needs to allow more flexibility for local governments so that they can amend their ordinances to add additional tables,” argues Clarke Rosa, President of the CCC.
“A moratorium without reasonable table expansion creates a great inequity among local governments who have active gaming ordinances,” Rosa further stated. “A continuation of the status quo is unacceptable. Local governments need the flexibility to amend their ordinances to add additional tables, as each table can generate a tremendous amount of living wage jobs and tax revenues.”
A still from CCC’s new media campaign. According to CCC figures, California’s cardroom industry produces 32,000 living wage jobs, “held mostly by minorities and underserved communities.” The tax revenue generated helps fund cities’ budgets; “and its practices have been approved by the last six California Attorneys General and comply with all laws and regulations.”
The fight between California’s cardrooms and tribal casinos is an ongoing one, which has been escalating as of late. State cardrooms also argue that tribes, which have qualified a retail sports betting initiative for the November ballot, are seeking to hurt their operations through this proposal.
State cardrooms-backed group Opposition to Proposition 26 argues that the tribal measure “weaponizes the Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), so it can be used against tribal casino operators’ legally-operating competition.” The group further argues that the proposal seeks to grant tribal casinos a “near monopoly on all gaming in California” by adding exclusivity over roulette, craps, and sports wagering.
Tribal interests in the state have responded to this accusation, stating that the measure simply ensures existing laws preventing illegal gambling are being followed and that cardrooms following the law “have nothing to worry about.”
“Our measure will not shut down a single card room casino that’s operating legitimately,” the tribal-backed Coalition for Responsible Gaming said earlier this year. “The only cardroom casinos at risk of legal enforcement are those that repeatedly violate California gaming laws.”