Yes, there’s a new California cardroom moratorium until 2043. Yes, that means no new cardrooms can acquire licenses for at least 20 years. Yes, the most popular cardrooms in the state now cannot expand their offerings through 2043, either.
But, if you read the moratorium closely, you’ll see that the ban on gambling expansion really doesn’t apply to 35 of the state’s 55 currently active California cardrooms. That’s just above 60% of the cardrooms.
According to AB 341, local governments can amend an ordinance that applies to cardrooms that had fewer than 20 tables as of Jan. 1, 2023. These smaller cardrooms are allowed to add up to 10 additional gaming tables over the next five years — a maximum of two each year.
The California cardrooms that can still expand
Currently, 35 of the 55 active and operating cardrooms in California had fewer than 20 tables as of Jan. 1, 2023.
Here are those 35 cardrooms.
|Cardroom||Location||Number of tables|
|Ace & Vine||Napa||9|
|California Grand Casino||Pacheco||19|
|Central Coast Casino||Grover Beach||4|
|Club San Rafael||San Rafael||4|
|Empire Sportsmen's Association||Modesto||10|
|Garlic City Club||Gilroy||10|
|Kings Card Club||Stockton||11|
|Limelight Card Room||Sacramento||10|
|Napa Valley Casino||American Canyon||16|
|Oceanview Casino||Santa Cruz||4|
|Old Cayucos Tavern||Cayucos||2|
|Outlaws Card Parlour||Atascadero||5|
|Palace Poker Casino||Hayward||13|
|Parkwest Casino 580||Livermore||10|
|Parkwest Casino Cordova||Rancho Cordova||11|
|Parkwest Casino Lodi||Lodi||15|
|Parkwest Casino Lotus||Sacramento||17|
|Parkwest Casino Manteca||Manteca||13|
|Parkwest Casino Sonoma||Petaluma||18|
|The Aviator Casino||Delano||10|
|The Nineteenth Hole||Antioch||5|
|The Saloon at Stones Gambling Hall||Citrus Heights||17|
|The Tavern at Stones Gambling Hall||Citrus Heights||17|
|Towers Casino||Grass Valley||8|
|Turlock Poker Room||Turlock||14|
|Westlane Card Room||Stockton||11|
Commerce Casino, larger cardrooms can’t expand
Reading between the lines, it becomes clear the tribal-backed AB 341 was not meant to target smaller cardrooms that don’t pose a threat to California’s tribal casinos. It was meant to prevent the state’s biggest cardroom casinos, such as Commerce Casino, The Gardens Casino and Parkwest Bicycle Casino, from growing and stiffening gambling competition for tribes.
Cardrooms can’t offer slot machines like tribal casinos. But they can offer poker, as well as modified table games that skirt the rules preventing any house-banked games being played off reservation land. For all intents and purposes, these modified table games feel the exact same as table games at tribal casinos.
Commerce Casino has 374 gaming tables. The Gardens has 374, as well, and Bicycle has 160. Those three cardrooms are all in the same Southern California region as some of the biggest, most powerful tribal casinos in the state — including Yaamava’ Resort & Casino, owned by the wealthy San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
Assemblymemer James Ramos was behind AB 341. Ramos is a member of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and is the first Native American elected to the California State Assembly.