Are You Playing Poker Next to a Cardroom Employee?

The California Gambling Control Commission (“Commission”) acts as the regulatory body over:

    • Gambling establishments (cardrooms), and over all persons or things having to do with the operations of gambling establishments,
    • Proposition Players, and
    • Tribal casinos, pursuant to the Commission’s authority under the Tribal-State Gaming Compacts.

The Commission is responsible for setting policy, establishing regulations, conducting audits, making determinations of suitability for gaming employees, issuing licenses, and administering the provisions of the Gambling Control Act and the Tribal-State Gaming Compacts, among other responsibilities. The Bureau of Gambling Control within the California Department of Justice (“DOJ”), is the State law enforcement authority with special jurisdiction over gambling activities within the State of California. It is the entity that conducts criminal background investigations for the Commission on gambling license and work permit applications received by the Commission.

Cardrooms and Proposition Players

The Commission, under the Gambling Control Act, and pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order D-29-01 has jurisdiction over operation, concentration, and supervision of gambling establishments, and over all persons or things (i.e. card tables, gaming equipment) related to the operations of gambling establishments in California. There are approximately 91cardrooms currently in operation. A relatively new component of the California cardroom industry that has become part of the Commission’s regulatory responsibility is the Third-Party Provider of Proposition Player Services (“Proposition Player”) industry. Proposition players are cardroom employees who help ensure there are
poker games continuously available to cardroom patrons. Proposition players (or props) will fill empty seats at short tables, help start new tables and generally help ensure that patrons will be able to play poker in the cardroom. Because proposition players use their own funds to play, cardrooms generally have a “hands off” attitude towards how props play. Proposition players are allowed to play however they like, and may continue to play until they bust. Proposition players are still cardroom employees, and you can expect them to be very respectful of the fellow cardroom patrons and dealers. The Commission established a program for the initial registration and subsequent licensure of persons and entities involved through the regulation. The Commission has the responsibility and authority to issue registrations and licenses under the licensing powers of the Gambling Control Act. Currently, there are 26 Proposition Player companies, and 4 Gambling Businesses (those Proposition Player companies that do not have a contract with a cardroom). These companies have filed over 2,000 applications, which have been processed by the Commission.