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Lawmaker Cathleen Galgiani Appointed To California Gambling Control Commission

The antennas of the gambling community become more alert when there is a change announced in the composition of the regulatory authority. There is a buzz at the appointment of San Joaquin County lawmaker Cathleen Galgiani to the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) by Governor Gavin Newsom. The position with the California Gambling Control Commission requires Senate confirmation and offers a compensation of $159,068.

In this article we highlight some issues that Galgiani could assist in resolving and we also look at the achievements that she brings to the table.

What Would Be Galgiani’s Role at CGCC

The CGCC is administered by five commissioners, with one of them being in the chair. The other four have functional responsibilities and Galgiani holds the somewhat enigmatic title of Governmental Experience Member. The exact role of each commissioner has not been detailed in the public domain, but it seems that Galgiani would act as a sort of bridge between the Commission and the Government.

The objective of the CGCC is to regulate:

  • Gambling establishments
  • Third party providers of proposition players services
  • Tribal casinos

There are a few pressing areas that the CGCC needs to look into and Galgiani’s dynamic and bold approach could help.

Online Gambling Regulation

California prohibits online poker, online sportsbooks and online casino gambling. Any new bill legalising online gambling would require approval of two-thirds of the State Legislature and must be approved in a referendum by voters. The law makers are beset by other problems and have put this issue on a back burner. Someone on the CGCC would have to prepare a master plan that would demonstrate reasonable revenue streams from online gambling taxation and at the same time ensure that responsible gambling requirements are taken care of. Quite a few American states have legalised online gambling and it will not be difficult to adopt or adapt their systems. Unfortunately, the consensus among experts seems to be that the appointment of Cathleen Galgiani to the CGCC probably won’t change the status of online gambling in California.

Sports Betting

The repeal of PASPA opened the way for American states to launch a regulated scheme of sports betting. In California, the Indians Gaming Association has taken up the issue and gathered enough signatures for a sports betting ballot initiative. Those signatures are being verified. It is still not certain whether the ballot will take place this year or in the middle of 2022. The role of the CGCC would probably come in after a positive result in the ballot when the rules and policies have to be put in place.

Tribal Gaming in California

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is one of the strongest tribal casino bodies in the United States. Not only has it historically led the movement for the special tribal gaming compacts with the federal and state governments, but within California it vociferously protects its interests by trying to keep competition at bay. There are cases pending in courts and tribes that have not yet signed compacts with the state government. It is here that Galgiani can be most useful, especially as the Governmental Experience Member. If she can clear the backlog and streamline the processes going forward, it will be a job well done.

What Cathleen Galgiani Brings to the Table

Galgiani, who is aged 57 and is a Democrat from Sacramento, has been active in the political arena since 1991. Though she has not been involved with gambling related issues, her experience of 30 years will hold her in good stead at the CGCC.

Galgiani began as a field representative for former Senator Patrick Johnston and then worked on the campaign for John Garamendi when he ran for governor from 1991 to 1994. Her first major assignment came in 1999 as deputy director for special projects for first lady Sharon Davis, the wife of Governor Gray Davis. She later assisted Assemblywoman Barbara Matthews from 2000 to 2006.

Galgiani came to her own in 2006 when she was elected to the California State Assembly from the 17th District. In 2012 she became a California state senator and remained one till she was termed out in 2020. During this period Galgiani was a member of the California Legislature’s LGBTQ Caucus, primarily because she had revealed that she was a lesbian. In fact, she was advised not to contest for the Senate after coming out of the closet, because the traditional electorate rarely favours gay politicians. Galgiani said that it was important for her to send a positive message to young people who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual identity. “It sickens me that young people would think about taking their lives because of who they are,” Galgiani said. Her contribution to the cause was co-authoring bill SB48 that would ensure social studies courses in schools include instruction on the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The bill was converted to law. Gamblers in California hope that she will bring the same boldness to her new job.

Galgiani has been associated with other projects as well. She played a crucial role in the early stages of the proposed construction of a high-speed rail line through the Central Valley. The work is now on full swing and should see commercial operations by 2030. She also helped win passage of a law that gives state prison officials authority to facilitate a search with an inmate, which was useful in the serial killer Wesley Shermantine case.

Galgiani proudly claims that she is a fifth-generation Stocktonian and has served as chief of staff and consultant to the University of California. Her late grandfather was Stockton artist Oscar Vincent Galgiani, whose paintings hang in homes and government buildings throughout Northern California.

Can Galgiani Succeed?

Galgiani definitely has the skill sets and political will and has demonstrated it in her past assignments. There are however, two things going against her. Gambling reform is a low priority area for the law makers. The most puzzling aspect is that her term with the CGCC ends on December 31, 2021 and there is very little one can do in eight months.

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Lawmaker Cathleen Galgiani Appointed To California Gambling Control Commission

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