State gambling regulators are nixing in-person public meetings in favor of virtual participation until next year, according to a formal notice issued last week.
The California Gambling Control Commission will be conducting public business solely on Zoom. Citing a recently signed bill granting temporary relief from certain requirements in the state’s public meetings law, the CGCC is suspending in-person meetings until June 2023.
The change went into effect on July 15.
A Zoom link for all meetings will be available on the CGCC website.
California gambling regulators are open to the public
The CGCC is the regulatory and licensing authority for the state’s legal gaming industry. The commission oversees California card rooms and California casinos, in addition to administering gambling revenue taxes.
Investigations and enforcement of the industry fall under the purview of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Gambling Control.
As a state agency with rule-making authority, CGCC meetings must adhere to California’s Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, which requires public notice and participation.
According to the July 11 notice, the CGCC had been conducting in-person meetings in as many as three locations simultaneously — Sacramento (CGCC headquarters), San Francisco and Los Angeles — to comply with the state law.
CGCC meetings were also available digitally, even though it was not required.
Why the change?
On June 30, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed state Senate Bill 189.
The bill amended the state Government Code and provides “immediate temporary relief” to existing in-person and notice requirements of the open public meetings act for one year.
Governing bodies throughout the United States adopted procedures for conducting public meetings virtually as a result of COVID-19. The pandemic forced public decision-making agencies to find new ways to continue conducting the public’s business while prioritizing health and safety.
The next meeting of the CGCC is scheduled for July 21.
What’s next for the Golden State’s gambling regulators?
The CGCC could be in for some heavy lifting in the next few months, or years. It will be a change of pace for the usually qui
California voters will decide on whether to legalize and regulate sports wagering in November. Two competing ballot initiatives could either bring retail, online/mobile or a sports gambling hybrid to the Golden State.
The CGCC will be among the stakeholders drafting and adopting regulations. Those regs will likely have to balance many interests. Native American tribes, card room communities and online gambling operators are just a few of the players looking for action.