Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tribal Gaming Boards Say No to Proposed California Casino Security Standards

Over the past eighteen months, the California Gambling Control Commission (which consists of individuals appointed specifically by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) has worked continuously to come up with a new set of proposed security standards for casinos located in the state of California. During much of this eighteen month period, the California Gambling Control Commission was in direct communication with the attorney general's office. Therefore, many were caught off guard when the attorney general voted no during a meeting about the new set of proposed regulations. While it was known long in advance that almost every one of the fifty tribes that sent representatives of their gaming boards to this meeting were going to vote no, the no vote from the attorney general came as quite a surprise.

One of the biggest implications of the attorney general voting no for these regulations is that if there is any lawsuit in the future that involves these regulations, it will be extremely challenging for the office of the attorney general to defend this type of casino regulation in the future.

According to Attorney General Jerry Brown, the reasoning behind his decision to vote no on these regulations was his way of attempting to avoid a huge battle with the tribes. Because the Indian gaming industry is an eight billion dollar industry in the state of California, any type of unfriendly proceedings between the state of California and the Indian gaming industry could turn into an extremely expensive affair.

So, what exactly are the proposed security guidelines that are at the center of this issue between the state of California and the Indian gaming industry? The regulations are intended to establish uniform standards for employees and equipment to monitor the flow of cash as it makes its way through the casino system. The regulations range from requiring specific surveillance equipment to mandating how and when internal audits should be performed by the casinos themselves. While this may sound like a reasonable request for the state of California to make, according to the tribes who run the numerous casinos throughout the state of California, they are already spending millions of dollars every single year on top of the line security systems in their casinos, along with other internal controls. In order for any additional regulations to be put in place, they feel that there needs to be open negotiations between the tribes and the state of California, instead of simply a forced mandate.