Marty Derbyshire California Native American All-Tribes Meeting

It looks like Native American casinos are gearing up to take on California card rooms over a long standing table game issue.

The annual California Native American All-Tribes Meeting is set for July 6 in Sacramento, California. The meeting is hosted by the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations.

It will include representatives of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association and the California Association of Tribal Governments.

In fact, as many as 150 local tribal leaders are expected to attend. The plan is to discuss issues of importance to Native American groups in the state.

Banked games at California card rooms

This week, California Nations Indian Gaming Association Chairman Steve Stallings told local writer, reporter and blogger Dave Palermo that the longstanding issue of California card rooms running banked games would be at the top of the list.

Essentially, it is illegal for California card rooms to run house-backed table games. The games include blackjack, Three Card Poker, Pai Gow, and baccarat. However, the cards room have managed to run the games for the past 30 years regardless.

Ultimately, the games themselves are not illegal. It is just the house backing the games that is against the law. A California card room can host a game of blackjack, as long as a player acts as the house.

According to the law, the bank is supposed rotate from player to player. However, the rooms have used this regulation as a loophole. In fact, many California cards rooms have gone about installing proposition players as the house in these games. This way, the house is backing the prop, not the game itself.

California casino gambling

California’s Native American casinos have been crying foul for years. They claim the card rooms are skirting around the regulations. They also claim this practice goes against constitutional guarantees Native American casinos are the only ones allowed to operate casino gambling in the state.

Moreover, they have complained about state regulators’ unwillingness or inability to monitor and police the more than 70 card rooms in California.

Now, they are threatening a lawsuit. In fact, the July 6 All-Tribes Meeting is setting up as a chance to get together and discuss the legal plan.

California Gaming Association claims games are legal

California Gaming Association President Kyle Kirkland maintains the games banked by third-party proposition players are in compliance with state laws and gambling regulations.

Obviously, Native American casinos disagree. They have been asking the state to step in and protect their monopoly on casino games. However, those requests appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

To this point, gaming regulators in California have stayed quiet on the issue. Now, what’s next remains to be seen. However, it will apparently come out of the July 6 All-Tribes Meeting.

Marty Derbyshire
Marty Derbyshire - Martin Derbyshire is a veteran of the world of poker and gambling, having worked as a reporter, producer, and editor in the industry for more than a decade. He has traveled the globe interviewing high-profile personalities and contributes to a number of publications, including,, and