It’s now clear that the State of California is not the usual place one can go scot-free after failing to comply with the set anti-money laundering laws (AML). As in, yet again, the authorities have inflicted a huge amount as fine to California’s cardroom industry on grounds of regulatory compliance failures and AML allegations.

Mid-last week, the attorney general for California Xavier Bacera reached to a hash and final decision on this case and announced that the state has agreed a $3.1M settlement as fine with the famous Hawaiian garden casino.

The cardroom found itself on the wrong for lying to the gambling top official regulators and at the same time breaking the BSA or Bank Secrecy Act. This venue prides itself with a number of 225 of gaming table second to the commerce casino, which is the nation’s non-tribal famous gaming venues.

The $3.1M fine settlement has started with the $2.8M agreement reached by the Hawaiian Gardens. This settlement that took place in 2016 was between the Hawaiian gardens and the US treasury department FinCEN (financial crimes enforcement network). The settlement was met due to the venue’s numerous BSA violations and the venue’s failure to address the shortcomings of the venue’s AML, which was dating back to 2011.

The attorney general mentioned that the gardens had failed in alerting the gambling regulators of the FinCEN investigations as the gambling act of 1998 dictates. The whole tie that the gardens was under FinCEN eye, they failed to mention the regulatory problems they had.

However, they still sent several license renewal applications to the gambling control bureau.

The gardens are said to have continued with the lies even after the 2016 FinCEN settlement of $2.8M was made public. They continued to lie that they have always kept honest and open with the regulators.

The $3.1M is no top of the money that the gardens had paid the feds in 2016. On top of this, the gardens are to cater for the costs incurred by the state’s investigation. The gardens is also on probation for the next 24 months, and they are required to be clean, or else they risk the revocation of the gaming license.

The 2016 garden’s settlement was one of the many cases in which most California cardrooms paid millions for several BSA violations and also a careless approach in keeping track of the revenue getting in their cardrooms. The largest of these fines was the $8 million that was laid on Artichoke’s Joe casino, which was later reduced to $5M on condition that the casino will stay clean afterward.

This latest misfortune by the gardens will bring so much pleasure to the tribal gaming operators. The tribal gaming operators have long since been against cardrooms.

The animosity between the two has been considered to be the key factor why the tribal gaming operators excluded cardrooms in the ballot initiative aimed at bringing legal sports betting in California but now only for racetrack operators and tribal casinos.


Amir Azzam is a professional Journalist from South Africa. He loves writing about Sports and Casinos. Amir is a neutral when it comes to club football. He is especially fond of the English Premiership and his favorite part of the season is the relegation battle.
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