Game/Gaming Activity Approval

The Gambling Control Act (the Act), Business & Professions Code section 19800 et seq., charges the Bureau with the responsibility to review and approve the rules of any game/gaming activity in a cardroom prior to them being offered for play. It is Bureau policy that all requests to review a game and/or gaming activity require an application, a check in the amount of $1050, which consists of a non-refundable $500 application fee and $550 background investigation deposit for the review and approval process (see form links below), and the fee collection schedule for each wagering limit. The Bureau will only begin the review/approval process upon receipt of a complete application and the appropriate application fees.


The Bureau of Gambling Control (BGC) is introducing a streamlined approach to simplify and expedite the approval process for certain controlled games. This process will result in a reduced application processing time as well as reduce the amount of fees expended for the background investigation. Each game offered for play under this process must be played in strict accordance with the game rules and other specified elements of play, as posted on the BGC Standard Game Rules web page. A list of games rules, pre-approved by the Bureau, is available. For further details on this new process, click the following link.


‘Gaming Activity’ means any activity or event including, but not limited to: jackpots, bonuses, promotions, tournaments, drawing tickets, etc., which is appended to or relies upon a controlled game or games. Every gambling establishment must submit the proposed activity to the Bureau for review and approval prior to offering it for play in the gambling establishment. For further details, please refer to the BGC-APP. 027 Application for Gaming Activity Review, pdf below.


Bureau Regulation, section 2037 (J) states “If after a review it is determined that further investigation is needed, a deposit in the amount of $450 shall be required to review an amendment or change to any Bureau-approved game or gaming activity.” Any amendments to a game or gaming activity must be approved prior to being offered for play in the gambling establishment. To request a review of an amended game or gaming activity, please send a cover letter explaining which game or gaming activity is being modified, how it is being modified, the rules of the game/gaming activity including the amendment(s), as well as a check in the amount of $450, which is the required deposit for amendment requests.


When a Cardroom undergoes a complete change of ownership/licensure, Bureau Regulation, section 2071, requires all games and gaming activities offered by a gambling establishment to be reported to and approved by the Bureau. A complete change of ownership/licensure only refers to a situation in which 100% ownership of the gambling establishment changes. If a portion or portions of a gambling establishment is bought or sold, these requirements do not apply. When obtaining initial licensure, new owners must apply for and obtain written Bureau authorization prior to offering any games or gaming activities for play. In addition, all games and gaming activities are subject to local ordinance requirements, regardless of whether the Bureau has approved the game and gaming activity rules for play. The application for a game or gaming activity should include the following information: (1) the name of each game/gaming activity; (2) the rules for each game/gaming activity; including, where applicable, a description of the event that determines the winner of the game/gaming activity, the wagering conventions, and the fee collection and assessment methods; (3) a glossary of distinctive terms or phrases used in each game/gaming activity; and (4) a statement for each game/gaming activity that explains why it is not prohibited or made unlawful by statute or local ordinance. If necessary, the Bureau may require the submission of additional information. For further details, please refer to the form links below.


Industry correspondence is sent to all California cardrooms when new processes for game/gaming activity review occur, pending issues arise which require a legal opinion, or when the Bureau assumes a stance in regards to procedures within the industry. Below are links to letters which have previously been sent to the gambling industry.