Asian Pacific Islander Community Urges California Bureau of Gaming Control to Protect Thousands of Jobs and City Revenue Provided by Cardrooms


LOS ANGELES – Asian Pacific Islander groups have raised concerns regarding potential proposed changes to cardroom games by the California Department of Justice Bureau of Gambling Control.  Asian Pacific Islander employees comprise 50-80 percent of the workforce for some of the largest California cardrooms.  These potential changes could close down cardrooms and lead to a great loss of jobs that disproportionately impact the Asian Pacific Islander community and employees.

California’s card clubs generate tens of millions of dollars in local revenue and provide thousands of living-wage jobs across the state. Many cities throughout California rely on these tax revenues as their major source of revenue. In some cities, cardrooms provide as much as 80 percent of the city’s general fund which provide funding for parks, emergency response, and infrastructure development.

In recent months, local Asian Pacific Islander leaders have voiced their opposition to the proposed potential changes to cardroom games.

Leaders include:

  • Assemblymember Philp Chen, California Assembly District 55: Represents parts of Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Bernardino County
  • Rachelle Arizmendi, Councilmember, City of Sierra Madre
  • Asian Business Association Los Angeles
  • Dianne Martinez, Councilmember, City of Emeryville
  • James Fang, Former BART Board Member

“My concern with any proposed changes starts with the families of the thousands of employees of cardrooms.  These families’ livelihoods are in the balance and potentially ripping this long-time source of income away is unfair,” said Assemblymember Philip Chen, California Assembly District 55.  “These potential changes will also force cities to make difficult decisions when they could be missing upwards of 80% of their general fund from loss of revenue through closures of local cardrooms.   City program cuts will come from one department or another and I do not want to see cities having to make those choices.”

Bureau of Gambling Control is currently under pressure by local tribe owned casinos to eliminate from cardrooms popular games similar to 21/Black Jack.  Changes could negatively impact local economies throughout California and cause a disruption in the overall California economy.

“I am urging the Bureau of Gambling Control to help preserve the jobs of hundreds of employees in cardrooms across California.  Cardrooms are an important part of our community and supports many of local businesses, contributes to local charities and non-profit organizations and has a long record of partnering with the city and its public safety officials,” said Rachelle Arizmendi, Councilmember, City of Sierra Madre

“As a community based organization we are concerned about the impact these proposed changes may have on the local economy, city services, employment and overall fairness. APIs make up a large portion of cardroom employees and many would be directly impacted if these legal games were regulated or not allowed.   Funding for city services such as community parks, recreation, and public safety response could be affected from reduced city revenue,” said Dennis Huang, Executive Director and CEO, Asian Business Association Los Angeles

Currently there have been no finalized changes released by the California Department of Justice Bureau of Gaming Control.

Below are some of the notable groups and elected leaders also urging the Bureau of Gaming Control to not make changes to cardroom games.

  • Senator Ricardo Lara, California Senate District 33
  • Janice Hahn, Chair, County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, Fourth District
  • Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce
  • BizFed
  • California Police Chiefs Associations


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