California Tribes Takes Legal Action Against SoCal Casinos

November 19, 2018 by Ella McDonald

The US casino business is an exceptionally competitive market as operators are always fighting for a bigger piece of the market. Southern California’s gambling market has witnessed a fight breakout between the casinos in the region and two native tribes in the region.

The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians have decided to take legal action against multiple casinos in SoCal. The tribes have filed a lawsuit in the San Diego Superior Court on the basis that multiple casinos are not complying with gambling laws in the state.

The lawsuit makes it clear that the tribes are not looking at questioning the rights of these casinos from operating but are questioning their rights to offer patrons percentage card games and house banked games. The lawsuit claims that by doing so, these casinos are violating the Gambling Control Act, the California Constitution and the Penal Code.

The lawsuit covers all for-profit and private gambling operators which include prominent casinos like Hollywood Park Casino Company Inc, Bicycle Casino, Celebrity Casinos Inc, Commerce Casino, Hawaiian Garden Casino and Players Poker Club Inc.

The Chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Bo Mazzetti said that the tribes ran out of patience as they tried for the last 13 years to get the Gambling Control Commission and the California Department of Justice to pull up SoCal casino operators for failing to comply with gambling laws in the state. Mazzetti said that since their appeals fell on deaf years and no response for forthcoming their final option was to approach the courts.

Native Tribes Have Exclusivity Over Percentage Card Games

The Native Tribes are not happy over the fact that SoCal casinos are invading their space by offering percentage and banked card games. The tribes are supposed to have exclusivity over these games based on Proposition 1A which was signed back in 2000.

Federally recognized tribes are supposed to be able to offer these games on their reservations based on state and federal laws. However their exclusivity has been compromised as SoCal casinos have been offering these games and getting away with it.

The tribes want the courts to put an end to unfair competition and also be compensated for financial losses suffered due to non-compliance. The main aim of the lawsuit is to get the courts to pass an order preventing casinos in South California from offering banked and percentage card games going forward.