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Bureau of Gambling Control

Mission Statement: To ensure the integrity of gambling in California

Vision: Recognized as the leading authority in gambling regulation and enforcement in the world.

Values: We value integrity, commitment, teamwork, excellence, and professionalism.

To ensure the integrity of gambling in California is to ensure that gambling is conducted honestly, competitively and free from criminal and corruptive elements. The Bureau of Gambling Control (Bureau) carries out this mission by working cooperatively with the California Gambling Control Commission (Commission) to develop and implement a means of regulating the gambling industry in California. The primary functions of this regulation include the following:

  • Conduct comprehensive investigations into the qualifications of individuals and business entities who apply to the Commission for state gambling licenses or findings of suitability,
  • Conduct ongoing compliance inspections of gambling operations and establishments throughout the state,
  • Review and approve the rules of games and gaming activities in all California cardrooms prior to them being offered for play.
  • Register non-profit organizations and suppliers of gambling equipment and/or services to conduct charity fundraising events using controlled games.

The Bureau is also committed to reducing problems that result from pathological gambling. To this end, the Bureau is actively working with partners in the gambling and problem gambling research and treatment industries to administer the statewide Self-Exclusion Program. This pro-active program allows individuals to confidentially add their name to a roster of patrons to be excluded from gambling establishments within California.

History and Background

Prior to 1998, California's gambling industry was essentially unregulated. In 1984, the Legislature enacted the "Gaming Registration Act," which required the Attorney General's office to provide uniform, minimum regulation of California card rooms. However, the scope of the Attorney General's authority was extremely limited and funding was inadequate. Recognizing the need for broader oversight of California's gambling industry, the Legislature enacted the "Gambling Control Act" (Chapter 867, statutes of 1997).

In March 2000, the voters of California passed Proposition 1A which amended the California Constitution to permit Class III (casino-style) gaming on Indian land, provided that such activities are authorized by a tribal ordinance and conducted in conformity with a gaming compact entered into between the Tribe and the State. The Tribe and the State share a joint interest in ensuring that tribal gaming activities are free from criminal and other undesirable elements. While the Tribe maintains the primary responsibility for on-site regulation of gaming operations, the State is ultimately responsible for ensuring compliance with all aspects of the compact.

The Gambling Control Act, pdf (Business and Professions Code section 19800 et seq.) created a comprehensive scheme for statewide regulation of legal gambling under a bifurcated system of administration involving the Division of Gambling Control within the Attorney General's Office and the five-member California Gambling Control Commission appointed by the governor. The commission is authorized to establish minimum regulatory standards for the gambling industry, and ensure that state gambling licenses are not issued to or held by unsuitable or unqualified individuals.

Early in 2007, the Attorney General redefined the Division as a Bureau. The Bureau was positioned within the Department of Justice’s Division of Law Enforcement. Senate Bill 82, which was chaptered August 24, 2007, made changes to statute relating to the Division of Gambling Control, thus allowing the change to “Bureau of Gambling Control”.

What's New

Attention

The purpose of this notice is to ensure you understand the changes that are taking place within the California Gambling Control Commission (Commission) and the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Gambling Control (Bureau).

The operating procedures for California's two gambling regulatory agencies have been undergoing a reorganization as directed by the Governor's Office. The Governor's Reorganization Plan (GRP No.2) is scheduled to be completed and in full effect by July 1, 2013.

GRP No. 2 consolidates the support, investigatory, auditing, and compliance functions of the Commission and transfers these to the Bureau. The Commission retains jurisdiction over the licensing, policies, regulations, criteria, and standards pertaining to gaming.

This reorganization is being implemented in two phases. The first phase involved the Commission's Tribal Compliance Division which moved to the Bureau offices effective April 2, 2013. The second phase involves the movement of certain functions and staff from the Commission's Licensing Division which will move to the Bureau effective July 1, 2013.

Effective July 1, 2013, applicants should submit all applications and supporting paperwork along with licensing, applicant and background fees directly to the Bureau for processing.

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