Restrictions on popular table games could hurt business for California card rooms

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- California's gambling governing body is considering dramatic changes that could forever alter the landscape for table games played at cardrooms.

State-approved Blackjack and player-dealer games have operated without much complaint from the public for decades, but that now appears to be up for debate.

"There have been some complaints from tribal casinos about our table games, and they're looking at the policies and procedures for those to press them for the legality of it," said Kyle Kirkland.

Kirkland is the president of Club One Casino in Downtown Fresno.

According to him, removing any existing approved games or changes to rules could result in a loss of living wage jobs for hundreds of residents.

"The idea is let's be cautious about this, we don't need unintended consequences, a lot of folks are employed in our community and making a contribution to the community, so let's just be smart about this," Kirkland said.

Dozens of Club One employees showed solidarity by wearing red t-shirts to Tuesday's public workshop, including Ger Xiong, a father of four and a 20-year veteran in the cardroom industry.

He worries his job could be cut if new regulations were implemented.

"I don't know what I would do. This is the only income I have," Xiong said.

Cardrooms like Club One have been around for over two decades.

Operators fear that if the new regulations are too rigid cardrooms would be forced to fold on games that represent up to 70% of their business.

In turn, this could mean significantly less money for cities like Fresno.

"We are over a million dollars a year. In the course of our history, we have contributed over $20 million to the city's general fund I'm told we are the city's largest contributor," Kirkland said.

There is no timeline on when changes could go into effect.

Action News reached out to state officials, but they declined to go on camera.
Related topics:
gamblingpoker
Copyright © 2019 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.