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California Lawmakers Extend Cardroom Moratorium

California’s fractured gaming industry interests came together this week in a rare moment of unity with lawmakers extended a 25-year moratorium on the building of new cardrooms. AB341, which sailed through the Sacramento statehouse had the support of both California Indian tribes and their biggest rivals, cardroom operators, in a very rare show of unity.

Under the terms of AB341, the California cardroom scene is fixed at its current level and no new cardrooms will be allowed in the state. This extends a ban that’s been in place since California passed its Gambling Control Act back in 1997.

While the building of new cardrooms is banned, which is something Tribal gaming interests like, the bill also allows for limited expansion of existing cardrooms, which is something cardroom operators like. Because AB341 actually offered something for everyone, it sailed through the California statehouse on a 68-1 vote in the Assembly and a 32-0 in the State Senate.

In a statement reported on by the San Bernardino Sun Morongo Tribal Chairman Charles Martin said, “The overwhelming support for AB 341 by state legislators, tribes and cardrooms aligns with the will of California voters who have consistently stood with Indian tribes in support of gaming on federally-recognized tribal lands while opposing overexpansion of gaming across the state.”

On the cardroom side, Keith Sharp, president of the California Cardroom Alliance, expressed his excitement on the matter saying, “This new law will provide smaller cardrooms and their communities the opportunity to grow over time and create new jobs and local economic benefits without oversaturating the gaming market,”

Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB341 into law this week.