November 13, 2019 3 min read


California Cardrooms Economic Impact Huge, Survey Claims

California’s cardrooms may now be responsible for a fair chunk of the state’s economic well-being. In certain communities, these cardrooms contribute estimated 50% of all taxes.

A New Report Shows Upsides of California Cardrooms

A new report has pin-pointed the exact value of cardrooms in California, and specifically how much they contributed to the state’s budget. Based on the survey commissioned by the California Gaming Association and conducted by John Dunham & Associates, cardrooms are responsible for over 32,000 jobs and $5.6 billion in total contributions to the state and residents.

These contributions have been broken down in a meticulous analysis of everything, from wages for the staff, industries supported and emerging as a result of cardrooms, state and local taxation, and more.

To put things in perspective, 32,425 people depend on cardrooms for their livelihoods and their wages amount to $1.64 billion annually. The tax revenue generated by cardrooms is estimated at $500 million, which is then divvied up between state taxes to the tune of $398.8 million and $100.9 million to local gaming jurisdictions.  The cardroom economy drives key financial figures in several regions, specifically:

  • L.A. County – 13,463 jobs – $2.3 billion
  • San Diego County – 1,936 jobs – $318.6 million
  • Bay Area – 6,196 jobs – $1.1 billion
  • Sacramento Region – 1,831 jobs – $313.3 million
  • Fresno County – 764 jobs – $128.5 million

California’s Cardroom Underpin Communities

At a time when many critics doubt the necessity for expanding gaming and poker activities, the report sends a ‘clear’ sign, as John Dunham, president of the namesake company, noted:

“The data is clear – the cardroom industry is a vital part of local economies, creating irreplaceable jobs, needed state and local taxes to support local services, and, all totaled, a significant economic impact on California’s economy.”

In some locations, the tax contributed by cardrooms amounted to over 50% of the total tax contributions, an important figure to consider as well.

California Gaming Association president Kyle Kirkland confirmed the data of the report, arguing that the activity is essential to communities in the entire state so that they can continue to exist. The report specifically included any associated activity with the ‘cardroom industry’

That included restaurants, gift shops, and other venues that a person might be interested in visiting as they make the trip to a cardroom in the first place.  

Liberalizing Cardrooms and Going Online?

Current California laws for cardrooms prohibit any state businesses to run cardrooms online, which means that a shift towards an online cardroom economy may not be coming. Now that John Dunham’s report has been published, the numbers would give any opponents even more opportunities to criticize any attempt to bring cardrooms online. Yet, California isn’t entirely opposed to sports betting, for example, which is one of the most lucrative segments out there and deserves more government and state backing.

There have been some clashes between regulators and private businesses running cardrooms in the state as well. Native tribes have repeatedly complained about the so-called ‘player-banked games,’ that skived rules.

California Nations Indian Gaming Association has long criticized any attempts to circumnavigate state legislation that favors tribes and has filed lawsuits to urge the state to clamp down of said venues.

Lead Editor

Mike made his mark on the industry at a young age as a consultant to companies that would grow to become regulators. Now he dedicates his weekdays to his new project a the lead editor of, aiming to educate the masses on the latest developments in the gambling circuit.

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