Proposed regs would prohibit blackjack at California cardrooms

Blackjack table
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Proposed new regulations from the California Bureau of Gambling Control could bring major changes to state cardrooms and appease the longstanding battle between those cardrooms and tribal casinos.

As first reported by PlayUSA, the regulators have promulgated two new regulations addressing table games offered by cardrooms. One regulation would expressly prohibit any form of blackjack, even the player-banked versions currently offered by venues. The other would require these player-banked games to switch the dealer position twice every 40 minutes.

The regulations are now open to the public for feedback until Oct. 26.

While the regulations do essentially prohibit blackjack, it does allow for a game in which a player is trying to get closest to a target point such as 21. However, unlike in blackjack, players cannot bust and a winner is instead determined by who is closest to the target point regardless of whether or not the player’s card total went over.

These games would not be allowed to feature the word “blackjack” in the name or feature the number 21.

Tribes and cardrooms have long argued about the legality of these player-banked table games offered at cardrooms. This step would be one by the state that gives tribes a little bit in the way of protecting what they believe is tribal exclusivity to offer casino table games.

“We’re pleased that the second attorney general in a row has put forward regulations intended to bring these unlawful banked games into compliance. The blackjack prohibition is notable, though it should have also addressed other games,” Pechanga Vice President of Public Affairs Jacob Mejia told PlayUSA.

Earlier this year, a proposed bill would give tribes the opportunity to settle the issue of house-banked games in court, but that push stalled in the summer.

While the tribes and cardrooms continue to be at odds on this issue, they did have a moment of peace back in May when a new law put a moratorium on opening any new cardrooms in the state.