SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday, the United States District Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by three California Tribes against the State of California and Governor Newsom. The suit sought to force the State to shut down lawful cardroom games like blackjack and baccarat claiming tribal exclusivity of them, but in its ruling, the Court ruled that the tribes' compacts did not give them the exclusive rights to these games in California. Previously, four California Court of Appeal decisions have ruled that these cardrooms may operate non banked versions of these games, and for decades, cardrooms have offered these games with specific approval of the Attorney General without harm to or complaint by the public.
California Gaming Association President Kyle Kirkland issued the following statement:
"We are pleased that the Court dismissed this lawsuit by these California tribes against the State of California over alleged violations of their tribal gaming compacts. The Federal Court ruled that the compacts do not give the tribes exclusivity over gaming in California. This litigation was an attempt to eliminate competition from local cardrooms, threatening thousands of California families and dozens of communities statewide.
We will continue to oppose specious tribal attacks on our industry, employees and communities. Tens of thousands of Californians count on cardroom living wage jobs to support their families, and dozens of communities rely on the tax revenue we generate to support vital public services. We will not stand by quietly while wealthy tribes try to misuse court resources to hurt our employees, their families and our communities."
The tribes have claimed that the Court ruled on procedural grounds and did not address exclusivity. In fact, the Court ruled that the tribal compacts did not provide exclusivity to these games. In its ruling, the Court made clear that the tribes' interpretation of their compact rights was flawed. Here are key statements in the Court's order to dismiss (Case 2:19-cv-00025-JAM-AC):
- Plaintiffs (Tribes) argue the most-recently entered Compacts guarantee the same right of exclusivity that was bargained for in the 1999 agreements. The Court disagrees. The Compacts, although recognizing the right of exclusivity provided by the California Constitution, do not include any express terms regarding Defendants' obligation to preserve that right. In fact, the Compacts contemplate the abrogation of that right, providing the Tribes limited recourse in the event their rights of exclusivity lapse. (Page 8, Lines 12-20)
- Plaintiffs' (Tribes) claim requires a showing that the Compacts created an obligation by the State to adopt Plaintiffs' definition of "banking and percentage card games." Nothing in the Compacts suggest such an obligation. In fact, Plaintiffs' own complaint undermines the notion that the terms of the Compacts presupposed how Defendants would interpret and enforce state law. (Page 11, Lines 22-28)
- Plaintiffs' (Tribes) claim requires a showing that the Compacts created an obligation by the State to adopt Plaintiffs' (Tribes) definition of "banking and percentage card games." Nothing in the Compacts suggest such an obligation. (Page 11, Lines 22-25)
- Devoid of any indication that the Compacts created these obligations, Plaintiffs' (Tribes) allegations of bad faith fall short. (Page 12, Lines 8-9)
For more information about the California Gaming Association, go to www.calgaming.org.
MEDIA CONTACT: Anna Williamson
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SOURCE California Gaming Association