Code Section

Business and Professions Code - BPC


  ( Division 8 added by Stats. 1941, Ch. 44. )

CHAPTER 5. The Gambling Control Act [19800 - 19987]

  ( Chapter 5 repealed and added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 867, Sec. 3. )

ARTICLE 1. General Provisions [19800 - 19807]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1997, Ch. 867, Sec. 3. )


The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:

(a) State law prohibits commercially operated lotteries, banked or percentage games, and gambling machines, and strictly regulates parimutuel wagering on horse racing. To the extent that state law categorically prohibits certain forms of gambling and prohibits gambling devices, nothing herein shall be construed, in any manner, to reflect a legislative intent to relax those prohibitions.

(b) The State of California has permitted the operation of gambling establishments for more than 100 years. Gambling establishments were first regulated by the State of California pursuant to legislation which was enacted in 1984. Gambling establishments currently employ more than 20,000 people in the State of California, and contribute more than one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) in taxes and fees to California’s government. Gambling establishments are lawful enterprises in the State of California, and are entitled to full protection of the laws of this state.

(c) Gambling can become addictive and is not an activity to be promoted or legitimized as entertainment for children and families.

(d) Unregulated gambling enterprises are inimical to the public health, safety, welfare, and good order. Accordingly, no person in this state has a right to operate a gambling enterprise except as may be expressly permitted by the laws of this state and by the ordinances of local governmental bodies.

(e) It is the policy of this state that gambling activities that are not expressly prohibited or regulated by state law may be prohibited or regulated by local government. Moreover, it is the policy of this state that no new gambling establishment may be opened in a city, county, or city and county in which a gambling establishment was not operating on and before January 1, 1984, except upon the affirmative vote of the electors of that city, county, or city and county.

(f) It is not the purpose of this chapter to expand opportunities for gambling, or to create any right to operate a gambling enterprise in this state or to have a financial interest in any gambling enterprise. Rather, it is the purpose of this chapter to regulate businesses that offer otherwise lawful forms of gambling games.

(g) Public trust that permissible gambling will not endanger public health, safety, or welfare requires that comprehensive measures be enacted to ensure that gambling is free from criminal and corruptive elements, that it is conducted honestly and competitively, and that it is conducted in suitable locations.

(h) Public trust and confidence can only be maintained by strict and comprehensive regulation of all persons, locations, practices, associations, and activities related to the operation of lawful gambling establishments and the manufacture and distribution of permissible gambling equipment.

(i) All gambling operations, all persons having a significant involvement in gambling operations, all establishments where gambling is conducted, and all manufacturers, sellers, and distributors of gambling equipment must be licensed and regulated to protect the public health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of this state as an exercise of the police powers of the state.

(j) To ensure that gambling is conducted honestly, competitively, and free of criminal and corruptive elements, all licensed gambling establishments in this state must remain open to the general public and the access of the general public to licensed gambling activities must not be restricted in any manner, except as provided by the Legislature. However, subject to state and federal prohibitions against discrimination, nothing herein shall be construed to preclude exclusion of unsuitable persons from licensed gambling establishments in the exercise of reasonable business judgment.

(k) In order to effectuate state policy as declared herein, it is necessary that gambling establishments, activities, and equipment be licensed, that persons participating in those activities be licensed or registered, that certain transactions, events, and processes involving gambling establishments and owners of gambling establishments be subject to prior approval or permission, that unsuitable persons not be permitted to associate with gambling activities or gambling establishments, and that gambling activities take place only in suitable locations. Any license or permit issued, or other approval granted pursuant to this chapter, is declared to be a revocable privilege, and no holder acquires any vested right therein or thereunder.

(l) The location of lawful gambling premises, the hours of operation of those premises, the number of tables permitted in those premises, and wagering limits in permissible games conducted in those premises are proper subjects for regulation by local governmental bodies. However, consideration of those same subjects by a state regulatory agency, as specified in this chapter, is warranted when local governmental regulation respecting those subjects is inadequate or the regulation fails to safeguard the legitimate interests of residents in other governmental jurisdictions.

(m) The exclusion or ejection of certain persons from gambling establishments is necessary to effectuate the policies of this chapter and to maintain effectively the strict regulation of licensed gambling.

(n) Records and reports of cash and credit transactions involving gambling establishments may have a high degree of usefulness in criminal and regulatory investigations and, therefore, licensed gambling operators may be required to keep records and make reports concerning significant cash and credit transactions.

(Amended by Stats. 2007, Ch. 438, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2008.)