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District Court of Appeals Dismisses Lawsuit by Gaming Tribes Against Cardrooms

November 4, 2021 

Sacramento, CA, November 3, 2021 — Last week, the California Fourth District Court of Appeals affirmed a San Diego Superior Court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought by several gaming tribes against Southern California cardrooms; the Gardens, Commerce, and Bicycle Casinos are included in that list.

The Court held that the tribes lacked the standing to challenge the legality of games approved by the Department of Justice and played in licensed California cardrooms for decades. Similar efforts by other tribes against cardroom games have been rejected by federal courts, California Attorneys General and the State Legislature. 

Kyle Kirkland, California Gaming Association President, told HMG-CN, “We are pleased that the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the tribal lawsuit challenging the legality of cardroom games brought by tribal casinos who contend they have a monopoly over all gaming in California. They do not.

 This decision is the fourth lawsuit brought by tribal casinos to be rejected by the courts. If successful, these lawsuits would have devastated many California cities, unemployed thousands of Californians and decimated vital services on which cardroom communities rely. 

 Unfortunately, these decisions will not stop tribal casinos in their pursuit of an untaxed monopoly overall gaming in California. Certain tribes have spent millions of dollars qualifying a 2022 statewide ballot initiative that would legalize craps and roulette at tribal casinos and limit sports betting to only in-person bets placed on tribal land without any value for Californians. Hidden in the initiative is also a provision that would give any person the ability to sue cardrooms, their employees, guests, vendors and communities endlessly to bankrupt cardrooms and cities with litigation costs. That initiative hurts all Californians and only benefits tribal casinos.

 We will continue to oppose the false tribal casino attacks on our industry and communities and we thank the Court of Appeals for its decision.”

 Previously, four California Court of Appeal decisions have ruled that cardrooms may operate non-banked versions of many popular card games, and for decades, licensed cardrooms have offered these DOJ-approved games without harm to or complaint by the public.