Commerce, Calif. Mayor John Soria is leading the charge to protect his city’s namesake casino by prodding California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. He’s asking him to reconsider recently revealed rules changes that could make the Golden State’s cardrooms unattractive to gamblers.
California’s 72 cardrooms, including the Commerce Casino, are the focus of new guidelines launched by the California Bureau of Gambling Control (CBGC). At the center of the new protocols, which are not applicable to the state’s tribal gaming properties, is a requirement that players take turns acting as the bank or house, rotating that task every two hands.
The California Gaming Association (CGA), the trade group representing the cardrooms, believes that requirement is burdensome to players and poses a threat to venues such as the Commerce Casino.
The proposed changes to player-banked games are needlessly disruptive and discourage play altogether,” according to a statement issued by the city of Commerce and obtained by Casino.org.
Golden State cardrooms differ from their tribal rivals in multiple ways, including that the former don’t offer slot machines. Perhaps the most notable difference is that cardroom dealers act as the house, a regulation that the state’s tribal operators frame as a loophole that threatens their exclusivity.
For Commerce, There’s A Lot On The Line
Home to over 240 table games, Commerce Casino advertises itself as the world’s largest cardroom and is known in the poker community for hosting lucrative tournaments. The venue is nearly 37 years old and is a major contributor to the local economy.
These regulations are harmful because they would not only decrease critical tax revenue; it puts thousands of workers – some that live in Commerce- at grave risk of losing their livelihoods,” said the city in the statement.
Commerce Casino accounts for 45 percent of the city’s annual revenue, up from 38 percent 12 years ago.
Soria notes that money the city makes from the cardroom is used to fund projects such as infrastructure, emergency services, and programs for seniors and youth.
Rules Changes Seen As Onerous
In noting that it’s “appalled” by the new regulations, the CGA pointed to another crucial element of the rules being aimed at cardrooms: if none of the players want to act as the house, the game ends.
The trade group and its members fear that if that scenario becomes commonplace, gamblers will eventually cease coming to the cardrooms and bring their business to tribal properties or Las Vegas. That could threaten thousands of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in revenue just in the Los Angeles area.
“In Los Angeles County, card rooms like the Commerce Casino and other neighboring cities are a vital part of the region’s economic activity,” according to the city of Commerce. “Card rooms generate about $71 million in local taxes and support nearly 13,500 jobs. Casino revenues consistently subsidized cities, which, at times, lacked help from State revenues.”
Other cardrooms around the City of Angels include Larry Flynt’s Lucky Lady Casino and Hustler Casino, The Bike, and Hawaiian Gardens.