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California tribes going after card rooms

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California tribes going after card rooms

Two Native Indian tribes in California have introduced a lawsuit against a number of Southern California card rooms. The tribes, the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, submitted their lawsuit to the San Diego Superior Court last Friday, arguing that the card rooms are violating state laws.

The lawsuit asserts that the card rooms, as well as a number of unidentified third-party proposition players, are acting in violation of California’s Constitution, as well as the Gambling Control Act and the Penal Code. The tribes allege that the venues are operating under house-bank and percentage frameworks, which they say are illegal.

Kenneth Kahn, Chairman of the Santa Ynez Band, asserts, “It is unlawful for cardrooms to operate house-banked and percentage card games. It’s a problem we’ve been addressing for years through the administrative process, all to no avail. We are now forced to challenge this through the courts. We are simply asking that cardrooms comply with the law.”

Among those being targeted by the tribes are Larry Flynt and the Larry Flynt Revocable Trust, Eldorado Enterprises (doing business as Hustler Casino), the Bicycle Casino, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Sahara Dunes Casino, California Commerce Club (operator of Commerce Casino) and Players Poker Club, among others. Individuals are listed only as “John Does 1-25” and “Green and Red Companies I-XXV.”

According to Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians Chairman Bo Mazzetti, “I would like to make it clear, we are not challenging the right of a business to operate, but rather the non-compliance with California law. If the California Department of Justice and the Gambling Control Commission would have enforced the current laws that exist, we would not have taken this action. We have been trying to work with the state for over 13 years on this issue. Unfortunately, this lack of enforcement gives us no other option but to pursue legal remedies.”

The tribes want to stop the venues from continuing the questionable operations and is also looking for financial compensation. They accuse the defendants of “public nuisance” and “unfair competition.”


Hailing from Wisconsin but arriving in Las Vegas in 1995, I'm better known at various US online poker rooms under the pen name "OreoBob" and "SoyFlush". I'm an avid poker player and editor-at-large who has contributed as a freelance writer for diverse national and international iGaming publications since 2004.

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July 2020