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Card room gaming rule changes up for discussion at public forum

Opponents fear it could lead to job losses
Posted at 11:34 AM, Jan 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 14:34:49-05

The California Bureau of Public Gaming is holding a series of public forums to discuss proposed changes coming to card room gaming.

Many card room employees believe that could put jobs at risk, and they came to Cal State San Marcos for Tuesday's forum, as did representatives from various tribes who run Indian gaming casinos and generally favor the changes.

The California Gaming Association (CGA), which represents card rooms, estimates roughly more than one thousand people are employed in card rooms in the county, the largest employers being Ocean's 11 in Oceanside, and 7 Mile in Chula Vista.

At issue is so-called "banked" games, where one dealer acts as the "house." In California, only tribal casinos can offer such games. But Kyle Kirkland, President of the CGA, says the practices in question have been legal for years, under a statute that allows an offer of player-dealer rotation to suffice as compliance with the law.

Kirkland alleges that the bureau has offered no legal reason for the changes proposed, other than complaints levied by the tribal casinos.

Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas came to speak in favor of card rooms, worried that the rule changes would mean layoffs for 7 Mile, which she says has been a terrific corporate partner for the city.

Casillas Salas says, "if you limit the games, it limits the number of people that are going to come to the casino, so I think it will have a very negative impact."