Sierra Sun Times, 27 March 2021
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thurday announced a settlement in which Artichoke Joe’s Casino in San Bruno agreed to pay a penalty of $5.3 million for misleading gambling regulators and violating the Bank Secrecy Act, a federal law intended to combat money laundering. The casino is a 51-table cardroom with the eighth largest gross gambling revenue in the state. After the cardroom failed to timely or accurately report an investigation by the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), DOJ’s Bureau of Gambling Control (Bureau) initiated a license disciplinary proceeding against the casino and its owners. Today’s settlement includes the largest agreed-upon penalty in the history of California gambling regulation.
Under California’s Gambling Control Act of 1998, casinos are required to make timely, full, and true disclosure to gambling regulators. The Bureau determined that Artichoke Joe’s Casino was in violation of the law when it failed to accurately report, reveal, or disclose in a timely manner that FinCEN or any other federal agency was examining the casino with respect to the Bank Secrecy Act and that the casino and FinCEN were in negotiations that could result in the casino’s admission of Bank Secrecy Act violations. Later, as part of the settlement reached with FinCEN, the casino admitted to violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, and the Bureau amended its allegations to include the admission.
Both the failures to disclose and the admitted violations of the Bank Secrecy Act breached the casino’s duties and responsibilities under the Gambling Control Act. As a result of the settlement secured by DOJ related to this case, the casino and its owners will pay a penalty of $5.3 million, reimburse the Bureau for costs associated with the case, and complete a required 36-month compliance period. Artichoke Joe’s ability to hold its state gambling license will be contingent upon meeting the terms of the settlement throughout the entire 36 months.