Assembly Bill 341 has been formally signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, which is a big achievement for California’s gambling sector. This bipartisan proposal, which has the backing of more than 40 California tribes and cardrooms, aims to promote balanced expansion within the state’s gaming industry over the next 20 years. The Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), California Cities for Self-Reliance JPA, California Cardroom Alliance, Communities for California Cardrooms, Sheriff’s Employee Benefits Association, and California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) are notable supporters of the legislation.
Reviving Cardroom Industry Provisions
The new law reinstates provisions from the Gambling Control Act of 1997 that were supported by the cardroom industry and that had put a stop to the issue of new cardroom licenses in California. The new legislation permits licensed cardrooms to run with fewer than 20 gaming tables while gradually installing a maximum of 10 new tables over the following two decades, even if the ban expired on January 1, 2023 due to time limits. With this controlled approach, cardrooms can grow steadily without experiencing unmanageable expansion.
Positive Reaction and Legislative Support
The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman James C. Ramos (D-San Bernardino), expressed his happiness with the wide agreement established between tribes and cardrooms that led to the passage of AB 341. He expressed appreciation for Governor Newsom’s backing while highlighting how the bill will promote the gaming industry’s viability by allowing controlled cardroom expansion over the next 20 years.
In March 2023, the State Assembly overwhelmingly approved the measure by a vote of 68 to 1. The State Senate then unanimously approved it with a vote of 32-0 in the early May period. The Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, and Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians were notable sponsors of the legislation, as were the Commerce Casino & Hotel, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Kings Card Club, and Cahuilla Band of Indians.
Support Aligning With Voter views
Morongo Tribal Chairman Charles Martin emphasized the resounding support from state lawmakers, tribes, and cardrooms, which matched California voters’ views. While ensuring the responsible spread of gaming throughout the state, he emphasized the significance of gaming on federally recognized tribal territories. Keith Sharp, President of the California Cardroom Alliance, reiterated this attitude and emphasized the new law’s advantageous economic effects on smaller cardrooms and the communities in which they are located.
Promoting Controlled Growth
The law attempts to encourage the progressive expansion of smaller cardrooms without oversaturating the gaming market by enabling measured expansion and generating new employment possibilities. It strikes a careful balance between protecting against excessive proliferation and respecting both tribal interests and the cardroom sector.
Assembly Bill 341’s passage marks a turning point in California’s gaming history and paves the way for the state’s cardroom industry to experience controlled expansion and long-term prosperity. The proposal, which has the backing of numerous stakeholders, paves the way for a prosperous and tightly controlled gaming business in California.
AB 341 was introduced by the aforementioned Assemblyman Ramos and co-sponsored by Assemblymen Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), Mike Gipson (D-Compton), and Devon Mathis (R-Visalia). State Senators Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Redlands) also contributed significantly to the bill. Assemblymen Greg Wallis (R-Rancho Mirage) and Evan Low (D-Cupertino) were also co-authors of the bill.
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