The California Bureau of Gambling Control (CBGC) is holding workshops to discuss whether or not there’s a need for new regulations for card rooms throughout the state. While there are no official notes available on subjects being discussed, there’s speculation that bankable card games could be a hot topic. Details on the items being discussed could be made public in the near future.
Bankable card games include Blackjack, Pai Gow Poker, Baccarat, and Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em.
The concern is that these talks could lead to changes that might include California card rooms to remove certain table games, including blackjack. Table games make up somewhere between 40 percent and 70 percent of the revenue for card rooms in California. As you’d imagine revenue is different for all card rooms.
Card rooms and casinos are big business in California. There are nearly 70 card rooms that employ approximately 23,000 workers. The LA Times says these card rooms are responsible for an estimated $300 million in local, state and federal taxes.
What Are Bankable Card Games In California?
Card rooms in California are not the same as casinos. Card rooms are not allowed to play the role of a banker at their own tables as a casino would. The card room operators invite a licensed third-party business to provide a “banker” at the tables. Owners, supervisors, players, and other employees of third-parties must register and earn a badge from the California Gambling Control Commission.
As we mentioned earlier bankable card games in California include the following games:
- Pai Gow Poker
- Ultimate Texas Hold ‘Em
Casinos Vs. Card Rooms
Card rooms in California operate differently than casinos. Indian tribes in the state are in charge of running the casinos. Similar to Florida, the tribes have the exclusive right to operate traditional casino-style games in California.
Card rooms in California can’t have a financial stake in the card games they host. However, the operators of the card rooms frequently own third-party banking businesses that provide a banker. It appears as though there might be some kind of an unwritten agreement between the card room owners to higher each other to provide the third party service.
There was recently a lawsuit by Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and the Santa Ynez of Chumash Mission Indians against various card room operators. This is how we ended up with the CBGC exploring card room options.
Will California Card Rooms Lose Blackjack?
Card rooms have a 30-year history in California. It’s difficult to imagine gaming control doing something to slow down the approximately $300 million in tax revenue the state receives from card rooms.
It this something blackjack players should pay attention to? Certainly. You never know the motivation behind government officials. That said, this might be much ado about nothing. Keep your eyes peeled for news about this in 2019.