The Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians announced Friday that they have filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior Court against several cardrooms located in Southern California.
“I would like to make it clear, we are not challenging the right of a business to operate, but rather the non-compliance with California law,” said Bo Mazzetti, Chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians. “If the California Department of Justice and the Gambling Control Commission would have enforced the current laws that exist, we would not have taken this action. We have been trying to work with the state for over 13 years on this issue. Unfortunately, this lack of enforcement gives us no other option but to pursue legal remedies.”
The corporations listed in the lawsuit are all private, for-profit corporations, including Larry Flynt and Larry Flynt Revocable Trust; Casino LLC; Eldorado Enterprises, doing business as Hustler Casino; California Commerce Club, Inc., doing business as Commerce Casino; the Bicycle Casino, L.P.; Hawaiian Garden Casino; Hollywood Park Casino Company Inc.: Oceans 11 Casino Inc.; Players Poker Club Inc.; Stones South Bay Corp.; Celebrity Casinos Inc., and Sahara Dunes Casino, L.P., as well as unnamed defendants third-party proposition players, John Does 1-25 and Green and Red Companies I-XXV.
“It is unlawful for cardrooms to operate house-banked and percentage card games,” said Kenneth Kahn, Chairman of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “It’s a problem we’ve been addressing for years through the administrative process, all to no avail. We are now forced to challenge this through the courts. We are simply asking that cardrooms comply with the law.”
House-banked and percentage card games are games in which the player competes against the house (the cardroom or casino owner), which according to the rules of the games offer the house a slight or more than slight percentage advantage.
In a game such as blackjack, that advantage can be as small as 1 percent or less, depending on the skill of the player. In a game such as craps, that advantage can be as high as 16 percent; in roulette, the house advantage falls somewhere in the middle of the two.
The complaint alleges the defendant cardrooms and unnamed third-party proposition players violate the California Constitution, the Gambling Control Act and the Penal Code by offering house-banked and percentage card games.
In 2000, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1A, which authorizes the governor to negotiate with only federally recognized Indian tribes to offer banked and percentage card games on Indian lands in accordance with state and federal law.
The complaint also seeks injunctive relief to prohibit the defendants from offering banked and percentage card games, and legal relief for the financial losses of business and governmental revenue, tribal employment opportunities and goodwill. The allegations asserted against the defendants in the complaint include public nuisance and unfair competition.
–City News Service
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