Frequently Asked Questions

How do California Cardrooms work?

Alongside local ordinances, the California Gambling Control Act of 1998 provides guidelines for how cardrooms may operate. Unlike tribal casinos, California cardrooms do not contain slot machines or “banked” games, but rather allow patrons to play a large number of poker and table games. Cardrooms are unique in that instead of serving as a “house” for games like tribal casinos do, players are afforded the chance to act as the dealer at each table.

How many cardrooms are there in California?

California is home to 88 licensed cardrooms, which claim more than 1,900 tables for various games as well as many temporary tournament tables reserved for high-caliber play. Whether you want to play at Commerce Casino, the largest cardroom in the world at 270 tables, or an intimate one-table cardroom, California’s preeminent cardroom industry offers it all.

How many people are employed by California cardrooms?

Cardrooms employ more than 23,000 individuals across the state, affording employees a stable job with dependable upward mobility. Many of these employees live in underserved communities with little to no prior training, providing them with a living-wage job that they would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. These local jobs have lifted families up, allowing parents to provide for their families and even put their children through higher education.

How do cardrooms support local and state economies?

In addition to the benefits associated with stable employment, cardrooms generate a large sum of taxable revenue that supports the vitality of local and state economies. Every year, California cardrooms generate more than $2 billion in economic activity. Cardrooms also invest in the social fabric of their communities, by participating in and hosting various charities such as scholarship programs, local beautification projects and holiday events, to name a few. These philanthropic efforts are merely a window into the strong commitment the cardrooms have to partnering with the local residents.

What makes cardrooms different from tribal casinos?

Cardrooms are subject to local, state and federal laws and extensive regulatory scrutiny in public meetings before the California Gambling Control Commission. Tribal casinos are authorized by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which grants them independent sovereignty with limited oversight by the Commission and other state regulators. Also, while cardrooms generate their revenue solely from table games like Poker, tribal casinos acquire nearly 90 percent of their revenue from slot machines, to which they have exclusive right. Additionally, tribal casinos offer house-banked games pursuant to their state compacts, unlike cardrooms which only offer poker and table games and cannot have a stake in the outcome of games. Cardroom players are also granted the unique opportunity to wager in the dealer position. Finally, cardrooms have been in operation since the early 1800s, predating California’s statehood and well before the inception of tribal casinos’ legal formation in 2000.