Up For Grabs: Five Spots On A Committee That Influences California Gaming Law

Posted on November 5, 2019

There are new opportunities to influence how gambling laws are enforced and interpreted for the next two years in the Golden State. A California policy advisory committee has five seats opening up for selection soon.

The California Gaming Policy Advisory Committee, a subcommittee of the California Gambling Control Commission, has posted a notice about the expiration of current terms. The five seats could impact several aspects of gaming in the Golden State.

Details on the California policy advisory committee

The committee members serve two-year terms, limited to three consecutive terms. Any eligible California residents are welcome to apply for seats available on New Year’s Day 2020.

To be eligible, Californians must fit certain criteria in their professional careers, however. Those criteria are different for different seats on the committee.

Current members may retain their seats as long as they are still eligible based on the relevant criteria for their seats and have not served three consecutive terms. If they are unopposed, their candidacy will be recommended to the commission without a formal interview process.

The criteria for each of the five seats individually are as follows:

  • An agent, employee or a licensee of a third-party provider of proposition player services.
  • An agent, employee or a licensee from a card room with 25 tables or more in operation.
  • An agent, employee or a licensee from a card room with fewer than 25 tables in operation.
  • A professional with an accounting or business background not currently affiliated with any licensed California gambling entity.
  • General member at large who has no current affiliation with any licensed California gambling entity.

Not only does the distribution of these seats ensure stakeholders in California gaming have influence on policy, but it affords them that as the industry continues to change as well. While there may be some significant changes in the future, there are also decisions to be made now.

Existing issues for the policy advisory committee

There’s no shortage of business to attend to now. The ongoing regulation of cardrooms in the Golden State is a hot-button issue.

At issue is whether card rooms can operate casino-style games. Tribal casinos in California have an outsanding lawsuit seeking to bar the activity at those locations.

Several cities in the state oppose state limitation of cardroom offerings. They argue decreased revenue at card rooms will also affect their bottom lines.

Members of the policy advisory committee will help decide how the state proceeds on these issues. Those decisions will impact the gambling industry significantly.

Those aren’t the only decisions they might face in the coming two years, however. Another possibility over the coming term could represent a great change for gaming in California.

The possible legalization of gambling expansion

As soon as November 2020, California voters may vote on a major change to the state’s gambling laws. That would take the form of an amendment to the state’s constitution that would allow the Legislature to regulate California sports betting.

If that scenario plays out, members of this panel might get involved. They would take part in deciding matters like sportsbook license application procedures and drafting requirements for licensees’ participation in problem gambling protocols.

While that’s largely a hypothetical situation right now, there’s no doubt members of the committee will have influence. The procedure for selecting exactly who will wield that influence has begun.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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