Californian Cardrooms Reject Player Banked Rule Changes

California cardrooms reject proposed changes to the law that would bring a crimp in their lucrative’ player-banked’ games.

This week, the California Bureau of Gambling Control (BGC) issued draught regulations requiring cardrooms to change how they perform so-called’ player-banked’ games, where a designated’ third-party proposal player’ plays the function of the house, accumulating losses and paying winnings to the other players.

Players at a gaming table will rotate the player-dealer position every 60 minutes under the current system. This can be avoided, however, if the other players refuse the chance and the table suspends two minutes of activity.

All players would be forced to assume the banking function under the proposed changes, which would alter after two rounds. Every player who refuses the banking function will leave the table, and if no player is willing to take the position, the game must stop completely.

The BGC, which has held a series of hearings over the past year on the player-banked issue, will hold another hearing on December 18 on the proposed changes to the law. The Los Angeles Times quoted the BGC saying that the rule changes came about because the Department of Justice of the State was “looking at various issues related to gaming and is interested in receiving input and engagement from the public.”

The state’s DOJ involvement in’ various issues’ related to cardroom activity was possibly due to the ongoing financial shenanigans which contributed to a rash of regulatory enforcement actions, including the $3.1 m California Attorney General’s agreement reached this week with the Hawaiian Gardens Casino.

The California Gaming Association (CGA), a lobby group representing the 72 cardrooms of the state, warned that the proposed regulations “would kill the cardroom industry and devastate dozens of communities.” Additionally, the CGA warned that thousands of jobs and almost half a billion dollars in state and local tax revenue could be at risk if the cardrooms were forced to change their ways.

Tribal gaming operators in California, whose compacts with the state allegedly give them a monopoly over house-banked card games, have routinely protested the apparent disinterest of state regulators in reining in tribal turf infringements by cardrooms. Also offered a role for California racetrack operators was a recent tribal proposal to legalise sports betting at their casinos, but cardrooms were clearly absent.