Kyle Kirkland

Kyle Kirkland hosts a press conference in Clovis about proposed card room changes Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Frank Lopez

published on February 12, 2019 - 3:00 PM
Written by Frank Lopez

A press conference and workshop was held at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District this afternoon to address proposed actions affecting the card room industry by the state’s Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control.

The Bureau of Gambling control is considering the repeal of blackjack-style games and dramatic changes to “player-dealer games.” The agency is hosting seven workshops across the state on the matter, the fifth one being in Clovis today.

Central Valley card room employees, community leaders and elected officials gathered to voice their opposition.

Kyle Kirkland, president of Club One Casino and of the California Gaming Association, addressed local news outlets about the bureau’s proposals.

“There’s been some complaints from tribal casinos about our operation of table games and they’re looking at policies and procedures for those to press them for the legality of it,” Kirkland said.

Kirkland said that the thousands of people working in card rooms across the state could have their employment and wages affected by the proposed regulations, as well as disrupt tax revenue for cities with card rooms.

Club One has been in operation for more than 23 years and employs over 300 people.

Club One in Clovis contributes over $1 million to the city’s general fund, being the largest single contributor, according to Kirkland.

There are no specifics stated by the bureau as of this time, but Kirkland said that there is no intent on completely shutting down card rooms in the state, but that tribal gaming commissions do consider the competition of card rooms.

The bureau has released no specific policy language, and Kirkland acknowledged there is no intent on completely shutting down card rooms in the state.

Kirkland said he expects that there will not be any concrete progress until after a year from now.

Hunter Balto is a proposition player for Arise, LLC, a table game third-party provider of player services. Card room managers employ such players to ensure games maintain momentum. He said he was attending the workshop to represent his company and voice concerns on how the bureau’s propositions might affect the gambling industry.

“If they impose harsher limits on the way that we can do gambling in California, the company might be forced to let people go because they can’t afford to pay them,” Balto said. “The way we run now is full service 24 hours a day, but that could change.”

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