California News

Newsom signs bill establishing a 20-year moratorium on California gambling halls – Orange County Register

California suspends the opening of new gambling halls for the next two decades.

On Monday, May 22, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 341 into law, which establishes a moratorium on California’s issuance of new gambling hall licenses for the next 20 years. Existing smaller card rooms will be allowed to add new limited tables in the meantime.

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The bill was introduced by Assemblyman James Ramos, D-San Bernardino.

“I am pleased to have brought tribes and arcades together in a historic consensus that culminated in the passage of bipartisan AB 341,” Ramos said in a Tuesday press release. “I deeply appreciate Governor Newsom’s support of AB 341, which will help ensure the vitality of the gaming industry by allowing measured growth of the gaming floor without over-expansion over the next 20 years.”

The bill effectively revives a moratorium first established by the Gambling Control Act 1997, which prevented the opening of new gambling halls and the expansion of existing ones. This law had been extended several times by the Legislative Assembly before finally expiring on January 1 of this year.

Under AB 341, no new game rooms can open before January 1, 2043. But existing game rooms with less than 20 game tables can add up to 10 new tables during this time. The expansion would be done in a staggered fashion, with two new tables being able to be added in the first year, then two new tables every four years thereafter.

Historically, arcades and tribes – competitors to the California gambling industry – have found themselves at odds in the past. In 2022, they came out on opposing sides of Proposition 26, which would have allowed casinos to sue gambling halls for alleged violations of state gambling rules.

In contrast, AB 341 was supported by gambling halls and over 40 tribes, including the Cahuilla Band of Mission Indians, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians. The bill passed 68-1 in the Assembly in March and 32-0 in the state Senate on May 11.

“The overwhelming support for AB 341 by state legislators, tribes and gambling halls aligns with the will of California voters who have always supported Indian tribes in favor of gambling on government-recognized tribal lands. federal while opposing the excessive expansion of gambling statewide,” Morongo Tribal President Charles Martin is quoted in the press release.

“This new law will provide small arcades and their communities with the opportunity to grow over time and create new jobs and local economic benefits without oversaturating the gaming market,” said Keith Sharp, president of the California Cardroom Alliance, quoted in the same press release. .

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