The state of California is one of the potentially largest gaming markets in the United States, but is continually hobbled by the never ending battle between Indian casinos and card rooms. In the latest chapter of this battle, the The Bureau of Gambling Control (BGC) is proposing a new set of regulations that would remove blackjack-style games from card rooms entirely, in an effort to preserve the interests of licensed Indian casino operators.
Under current California law, card rooms are permitted to offer blackjack through a jury-rigged system that uses a player as the bank. In all practical terms, the rest of the game is standard casino blackjack. California’s tribal gaming operators, who hold tremendous power in the State House, have fought this situation for years. They maintain that these games far exceed the spirit of player-funded games that is the basis for the card room system.
Under the proposed new regulations, card room blackjack would: not have a “bust” feature; not prescribe a target point count of 21; A player will not immediately win by receiving an ace with a card valued at 10; and in the event of a tie between the player and player-dealer, the player wins. So not like blackjack much at all.
In an interview with PlayUSA, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation general counsel Jeff Butler explained the beef saying, “Our complaint was that they are playing blackjack, not rotating and playing banked games. Those have been our complaints forever and they’re still doing it. These regulations do a good job of stopping them from playing blackjack.”
If approved, the draft regulations would go into effect one year from now and would make life very difficult for California card rooms.