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Southern California cardrooms sued by Luiseno, Chumash Indians

The Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians owns Harrah’s Resort Southern California, located about an hour north of San Diego, and other gaming and hospitality venues. The Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians owns the Chumash Casino Resort, which sits about six hours north of the city.

The two have teamed up on a lawsuit filed in San Diego Superior Court against several Southern California cardrooms.

“We are not challenging the right of a business to operate, but rather the non-compliance with California law,” said the chair of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, who added that if the state’s Department of Justice and the Gambling Control Commission would have done their jobs properly, the lawsuit would not have been filed. “Unfortunately, this lack of enforcement gives us no other option but to pursue legal remedies.”

Defendants include Hustler Casino, Commerce Casino, the Bicycle Casino, Hollywood Park Casino Company Inc., Sahara Dunes Casino and Hawaiian Garden Casino, as well as 25 unnamed third-party proposition players and 25 other companies.

The chair of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians said “It is unlawful for cardrooms to operate house-banked and percentage card games” and that years-long attempts for administrative resolution of the problem have been “to no avail.”

Players compete against the house in both house-banked and percentage card games. Examples include blackjack, craps and roulette, which have house advantages ranging between 1 percent and 16 percent, a San Diego Times article states.

Eighteen years ago, voters approved Proposition 1A, which authorized to negotiate only with federally recognized Indian tribes to offer banked and percentage card games on tribal properties.

An experienced San Diego litigator can help you prevail in high-stakes business lawsuits involving disputes over contracts or between shareholders, lenders or partners.