Casino card rooms are limited in California by the state and city ordinances. I received an email that suggested that card rooms and casino's are showing up in strip malls around the central coast. Cali wrote to me and asked, "Dear Jon, how can casinos and card rooms legally pop up all over the place?"
Card rooms and casinos can't just legally pop up all over the place. With over 90 card rooms in California it’s very easy to find out which are legitimate state licensed card rooms are which are not. Do an internet search for the California Gambling Control Commission website. If you click 'gaming' on the menu bar and then click the link for a Google map of state licensed card rooms, you can see where they are located on the central coast. You'll see just 13 licensed card rooms from Santa Cruz to Ventura.
If they don't show up here they're not legit. This form of gaming is an intersection of state and local laws. A card room must have a gaming license from the state and its employees have to have valid gaming work permit to work in a card room. This permit is issued by the state.
Cities generally have an ordinance that regulates card rooms. They typically coordinate with the city council and the police department to draft the ordinance. Along with this effort, the state limits the number of tables that are allowed in a licensed card room. Most incorporated cities are only allowed one card room.
So if you see a business that pops up in a strip mall that looks like a casino, perhaps with computer gaming, chances are its not legit and you can call city code enforcement to have them check it out. Cities typically don't allow establishments that allow patrons to come in and use a computer to game.
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