Administrative Hearings


Hearings

The Commission may conduct evidentiary hearings either pursuant to the Gambling Control Act or the Administrative Procedures Act. The process from submission of an application to a final decision is displayed in this flow chart. If the Commission sends a licensing application to an administrative hearing, the applicant will receive a referral letter identifying the reason for the hearing and a Notice of Defense Form. A blank copy of this form is available here.

Once the Notice of Defense has been returned to the Commission and the Bureau of Gambling Control (Bureau) requesting a hearing, a notice of hearing will be sent to the applicant which will identify who will present the Bureau's Investigation Report, as well as the date, time, and type of hearing. If the applicant waives his/her right to a hearing or fails to return the form, the notice of hearing will also affirm the applicant's rights have been waived and include the possibility that the Commission may take a default decision on the application.

The applicant is encouraged to consult the Gambling Control Act, which is located in the California Business and Professions Code, §§19801 et seq., and Commission regulations, §§ 12002 et seq., which are located in Title 4, Division 18, Chapter 1 of the California Code of Regulations, and any law specific to the applicant's hearing. A complete version of these statutes and regulations is available here. A smaller document containing only the relevant Gambling Control Act statutes and Commission adopted regulations concerning the evidentiary hearing process is available below.

If there are any questions regarding the hearing process, the applicant is encouraged to first review the FAQ below. In addition, should the applicant have any additional procedural questions, the applicant is encouraged to contact the Commission's Administrative Hearings Coordinator. For comments and questions concerning the merits of the applicant's application in advance of the hearing, the applicant should contact the Bureau and the Attorney General's Office who are routinely involved in all Commission evidentiary hearings.

Contacts

Administrative Hearings Coordinator
California Gambling Control Commission
2399 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 220
Sacramento, CA 95833
Phone: 916-263-0700
Angelo Re
Department of Justice, Bureau of Gambling Control
P.O. Box 16824
Sacramento, CA 95816-8024
Phone: 916-227-2844
Department of Justice, Indian and Gaming
Law Section
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following represent questions frequently posed to the California Gambling Control Commission regarding evidentiary hearings on licenses or other approvals. For further information:

General

  1. Who is the Commission?
  2. What is an administrative hearing?
  3. How will I receive Notice of an administrative hearing?
  4. What is a Notice of Defense Form?
  5. What happens if I don't return my Notice of Defense Form?
  6. Where will my hearing be held?
  7. Is there an additional cost for an administrative hearing?
  8. Do I need an attorney or can I represent myself?
  9. If I need an interpreter, is one provided?
  10. Will the hearing be accessible to persons with disabilities?
  11. May I contact a Commissioner to discuss my case?
  12. May the hearing be held by telephone or by video conference?
  13. May I settle my case without a hearing?
  14. How may I request a copy or a transcript of the recording of the hearing?
  15. What does the Commission Hearing room look like?
  16. How does the process for an application flow from start to finish?
  17. Whom may I ask questions if they are not answered in this FAQ?
  18. My hearing was sent to the APA? What do I do?
  19. I'm a Designated Agent, what do I need to do?
  20. Can I just abandon my application instead of going to an evidentiary hearing?

Pre-Hearing

  1. How do I prepare for my hearing?
  2. How do I subpoena witnesses and documents?
  3. Where and how do I file any pre-hearing motions?
  4. How do I request a postponement or continue the hearing?
  5. Will there be a Pre-Hearing Conference between me, the Bureau or Complainant and the Presiding officer?
  6. Do I need to provide the Bureau with any documents or information before the hearing?

Hearing

  1. May I bring a witness or documents?
  2. What may I expect at the hearing?
  3. What is the "burden of proof"?
  4. What happens if I fail to attend the hearing?
  5. How long will my hearing take?
  6. How do the Commissioners vote on applications?
  7. I did not submit my Notice of Defense form, do I have to participate or can I still participate?

Post-Hearing

  1. When will a decision be issued?
  2. What may I do if I disagree with the Commission's decision?


General

  1. Who is the Commission?
  2. The Commission is an agency created by the State of California to review and determine the suitability of applicants connected to controlled gambling in California. It is a panel of individuals from various walks of life, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. The number of Commissioners varies up to 5, but in no event will less than 3 review your application or other request for approval.

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  3. What is an administrative hearing?
  4. An administrative hearing, also known as an evidentiary hearing, is a fair and impartial opportunity for you to present the merits of your application or other approval to the Commission through a semi-formal proceeding. If your application or other approval has been referred to an administrative hearing, the Commission will hear evidence and argument presented at the hearing to determine the facts and review the relevant law applicable to your application, and issue a decision after the hearing is concluded.

    The Bureau of Gambling Control or Complainant will present the relevant facts and argument contained in the Bureau's Report along with any specific issues identified by the Commissioners in advance of the hearing. You will in turn have the opportunity to present facts and argument in favor of your suitability.

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  5. How will I receive notice of an administrative hearing?
  6. You will receive notice in at least one of two ways. First, there will likely be an evidentiary hearing referral letter provided to you as soon as the Commission sends your application to an evidentiary hearing. This may occur soon after the Bureau Report on your application is provided to the Commission, or it may be made after the Commission considers your application or other approval at a regularly scheduled open meeting. The evidentiary hearing referral letter will likely provide you with a brief description about the subject matter of the hearing and also include a "Notice of Defense" provided above.

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  7. What is a Notice of Defense Form?
  8. A "Notice of Defense" form is the Commission's way of determining whether or not you wish to participate in the administrative hearing process. By reviewing the form and checking the relevant boxes, you provide the Commission and Bureau (or Complainant) information about whether you would or would rather not prove up your application.

    While the Bureau prepares a Bureau Report and may make a recommendation about your suitability, you know the facts in support of your application better than the Bureau and the Commission. If you are not prepared to present your suitability or would rather not participate, you may waive your hearing rights on the "Notice of Defense" form. Conversely, if you believe you should be found suitable and want to participate, you are statutorily entitled to a hearing. You are provided 15 days from your receipt of the "Notice of Defense" form to return it to the Commission; otherwise, the Commission may conclude you have waived your rights to a hearing.

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  9. What happens if I don't return my Notice of Defense Form?
  10. A "Notice of Defense" form is critical to providing an applicant the rights afforded in an evidentiary hearing. If an applicant does not send the form back, the Commission and Bureau (or Complainant) may assume that an applicant does not want to participate in the process. As a result, the Bureau and Commission will still conduct a hearing under Business and Professions Code section 19870, but without the opportunity for an Applicant to prove any aspect of their suitability. During this hearing, the Bureau may offer facts and evidence beyond its Bureau Report, or the Commission may simply find you in default of your obligation under Business and Professions Code section 19856 to prove your suitability and deny your application.

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  11. Where will my hearing be held?
  12. Unless otherwise specified, the hearing will be conducted at the Commission's Hearing Room in Sacramento, California at the following address:

    CALIFORNIA GAMBLING CONTROL COMMISSION
    2399 GATEWAY OAKS DR STE 100
    SACRAMENTO CA  95833-4231

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  13. Is there an additional cost for an administrative hearing?
  14. There is no additional cost for an administrative hearing beyond what you may expect to pay in presenting your own case including the cost of legal representation or presentation of documentary evidence. Commission regulations further prevent either party from prevailing against the other party for the awarding of costs.

    Please note however that an applicant will be required to pay the Bureau background investigation costs which may include any supplemental Commission requested investigation concerning an applicant. These are not costs associated with the administrative hearing, but rather relate to the normal background investigation process required under the Gambling Control Act.

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  15. Do I need an attorney or can I represent myself?
  16. An individual may represent him/herself in an administrative hearing and no individual is required to have an attorney. If you choose to be represented, in most cases that representative should be an attorney as they may better help you understand the law and how to present your case. You may obtain a referral from your local bar association or your union. Neither the Commission nor the Presiding Officer can recommend an attorney for you.

    You may also be represented by someone who is not an attorney including a Designated Agent on file with the Bureau. Please note that you will both be expected to comport with the formalities and expectations of an administrative hearing including making and responding to objections, performing direct and cross examinations, and offering up evidence related to your application.

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  17. If I need an interpreter, is one provided?
  18. If you need an interpreter, one will be provided for you. Please contact the Administrative Hearings Coordinator listed on your Notice of Hearing as far in advance of the hearing as possible. You may also raise this issue at the Pre-Hearing Conference to extent one is scheduled. You will not be charged for the interpreter's fee.

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  19. Will the hearing be accessible to persons with disabilities?
  20. Yes. If you or your witnesses need special accommodations to be able to access the Commission's hearings, please contact the Administrative Hearings Coordinator listed on your Notice of Hearing as far in advance of the hearing as possible, and let us know what assistance you need so that access can be ensured.

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  21. May I contact the Commissioners to discuss my case?
  22. No. Contacting a Commissioner while you have a pending application may be considered an ex parte communication and could be used as a basis to deny your application. The administrative hearing is your opportunity to speak to the Commissioners directly.

    If you have a matter that needs to be addressed prior to the hearing, such as a request for a subpoena, a particular evidentiary issue, or a possible or pending motion, please contact the Administrative Hearings Coordinator or Presiding Officer listed on your Notice of Hearing. Please note that if you include the other party in your communications, you may send emails, letters, or motions to the Presiding Officer without problem. If necessary, the Presiding Officer may schedule a Pre-Hearing Conference to address any questions you may have.

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  23. May the hearing be held by telephone or by video conference?
  24. Generally, the Commissioners wish to have the applicant in person in Sacramento during the hearing and as a result these types of allowances should not be expected as a matter of course. If you would like all or part of your hearing conducted by telephone or videoconference, contact the Administrative Hearings Coordinator listed on your Notice of Hearing. Please submit your request as far in advance of the hearing as possible and also notify the Bureau or Complainant. You may also raise this issue at the Pre-Hearing Conference to extent one is scheduled. The Presiding Officer assigned to your case will make a ruling on your request.

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  25. May I settle my case without a hearing?
  26. No. An application may not be "settled" in the typical sense. In general, the Commission's approval process is different than other agencies such as those contained in the Department of Consumer Affairs or others where the investigating agency makes a decision which is then appealed. Here the Bureau makes recommendations and the Commission makes decisions on applicants. However, if you and the Bureau or Complainant are able to discuss your application in advance and are able to agree to some resolution that involves the alteration of the Bureau's recommendation, which may include conditions or limitations, and this new recommendation can be presented to the Commission either in advance of the hearing or at the hearing itself, the Commission will consider it.

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  27. How may I request a copy or a transcript of the recording of the hearing?
  28. An audio recording, a transcript, or both is made of every hearing. A video recording may also be made. Please contact the Administrative Hearings Coordinator identified in the Notice of Hearing for further information.

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  29. What does the Commission Hearing room look like?
  30. The Commission Hearing room is the same room used for non-evidentiary hearings and other open meetings. There is a raised dais where the Commissioners, Executive Director, and Presiding Officer sit. In front of the dais are two tables perpendicular to the dais, facing each other where the applicant and Bureau or Complainant sit. In between these two tables, where a podium is usually located, a witness table is set up which faces the dais. Each seat has a microphone which may be toggled on and off. Behind these tables the Commission hearing room has audience seating which is open to the public for all Commission meetings and evidentiary hearings. Behind the dais, is a room where the Commissioners will retreat at the conclusion of the hearing for deliberations.

    This is the hearing room from the audience perspective. (Click image to enlarge)


     

     

     

     

    This is the CGCC dais from the Applicant's table. (Click image to enlarge)


     

     

     

     

    This is the CGCC dais from the Complainant's table. (Click image to enlarge)


     

     

     

     

    This is the CGCC dais from the audience. (Click image to enlarge)


     

     

     

     

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  31. How does the process for an application flow from start to finish?
  32. The Commission has prepared a flowchart which lists the steps from submittal of the application to the Bureau to the conclusion and service of a decision or license. This flow chart is available here.

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  33. Whom may I ask questions if they are not answered in this FAQ?
  34. The Bureau (or Complainant) may be able answer most of the questions you have especially in regards to the Bureau Report, facts on an application or background investigation. Furthermore, the Administrative Hearings Coordinator may be able to answer any practice or procedure question you may have. In addition, should matters need further attention, a prehearing conference can be set up between the parties and the Presiding Officer in advance of the hearing where additional questions and even orders can be issued.

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  35. My hearing was sent to the APA? What do I do?
  36. In some instances, the Commission may determine that an application or other approval should be heard by the Office of Administrative Hearings in the Department of General Services. This is a separate agency from the Commission with Administrative Law Judges assigned to hear cases and issue proposed decisions. The Commission may, but generally chooses not to, participate in Administrative Procedures Act hearings until the proposed decision is issued. The procedures and practices are different than in this FAQ. We recommend you speak to the Administrative Hearings Coordinator about any questions, but also contact the Office of Administrative Hearings directly and review their FAQ for any answers. They can be contacted here:

    2349 Gateway Oaks Drive Suite 200
    Sacramento CA  95833-4231
    Directions (Google Maps)

    Main Telephone Number: 916.263.0550
    General Jurisdiction Fax: 916.376.6349
    http://www.dgs.ca.gov/oah/GeneralJurisdiction/FAQs.aspx

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  37. I'm a Designated Agent, what do I need to do?
  38. A Designated Agent's obligations concerning the evidentiary hearing process are determined by Bureau regulation section 2030 located in Title 11, Division 3, Chapter 1 of the California Code of Regulations. This section adopted the use of form "Appointment of Designated Agent" BGC-APP. 008 which must be filed with the Bureau. The form requires an applicant and potential Designated Agent to "specify the role and responsibility" of the Designated Agent. Until that form is withdrawn in writing to the Bureau, or supplanted by a succeeding form, the Bureau and therefore the Commission will assume you are the Designated Agent for the applicant and will assist/participate in the evidentiary hearing process to the extent specified in the form until the application is formally abandoned or the evidentiary hearing process reaches a final decision.

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  39. Can I just abandon my application instead of going to an evidentiary hearing?
  40. Abandonment may be possible according to Commission regulations, §§ 12017 et seq., which are located in Title 4, Division 18, Chapter 1 of the California Code of Regulations. You must contact the Administrative Hearings Coordinator and the Bureau as soon as possible to discuss the prospects of abandonment based on your specific circumstances.

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Pre-Hearing

  1. How do I prepare for my hearing?
  2. The hearing is your chance to prove to the Commission you are suitable for licensure. It is a semi-formal evidentiary hearing where evidence is taken on the record in front of the Commissioners with a Presiding Officer assisting in maintaining the record and moving the hearing along. You should take this hearing seriously and may need to consider obtaining assistance from an attorney or otherwise.

    You should bring any witnesses or documents that you believe support your case. You will need the original and up to nine copies of any documents you wish to use; one for you, one that may be referred to by a witness, one for each Commissioner and Executive Director, and one for the other party. Please verify with the Administrative Hearings Coordinator or the Presiding Officer the number of copies required. Any evidence must also be provided to the Bureau or Complainant in advance of the Hearing according to Commission regulations provided above.

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  3. How do I subpoena witnesses and documents?
  4. Subpoenas are issued in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act. A subpoena or subpoena duces tecum may be made on this form or in a manner that otherwise complies with Article 11 of Chapter 4.5 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code. Attorneys are authorized to issue subpoenas without Presiding Officer approval, whereas unrepresented or lay applicants must seek the issuance of a subpoena or subpoena duces tecum from the Presiding Officer. All subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum shall be served at least 30 days prior to the date specified for commencement of the hearing in the notice of hearing, or the date specified in the subpoena for the appearance of a witness or the production of records.

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  5. Where and how do I file any pre-hearing motions?
  6. Pre-hearing motions are not specifically authorized by Commission regulations or the Gambling Control Act. As a result there is no specific format, pleading, or even timing required. However, to the extent you wish to make a motion that would otherwise be raised at the administrative hearing, they should be mailed, faxed, or if authorized in advance, emailed to the Presiding Officer and the Administrative Hearings Coordinator identified in your Notice of Hearing. Motions should include your case number, your name, address, and telephone number. You should send a copy of your motion to the other party(ies) at the same time you send it to the Commission.

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  7. How do I request a postponement or continuance?
  8. If you cannot attend your hearing, you must send a written request for postponement as soon as you know of the problem. You should send a copy of your motion to the other party(ies) at the same time you send it to the Commission. You must address your request to the Commission's Executive Director. The request must establish good cause for your inability to attend the hearing. You must also provide supporting documentation. For example, if there is a health-related reason why you are unable to attend the hearing, you must provide a doctor's note confirming you are unable to attend. Similarly, if you have vacation or other commitments, you must provide proof of your plans. Communication and acquiescence or agreement from the other party(ies) is encouraged.

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  9. Will there be a Pre-Hearing Conference between me, the Bureau or Complainant and the Presiding officer?
  10. A prehearing conference between all the parties and the Presiding Officer is not always scheduled or necessary. If you believe you need to speak to the other party, you are free and encouraged to do so at any time without the Presiding Officer participating. To the extent you believe you need a prehearing conference to resolve any issues in advance of the hearing and one has not already been scheduled, you are free to seek a pre-hearing conference from the Presiding Officer.

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  11. Do I need to provide the Bureau with any documents or information before the hearing?
  12. Commission regulation § 12060(e) requires the Bureau (or Complainant) and the Applicant to exchange certain types of information in advance of an evidentiary hearing. The Bureau (or Complainant) is required to exchange information a minimum of 45 days in advance of the hearing. The applicant is required to do the same 30 days in advance of the hearing. Failing to provide this information may result in the evidence being excluded at the hearing.

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Hearing

  1. May I bring a witness or documents?
  2. The hearing is your chance to prove to the Commission you are suitable for licensure. You should bring any witnesses or documents that you believe support your case. You will need the original and up to nine copies of any documents you wish to use; one for you, one that may be referred to by a witness, one for each Commissioner, one for the executive director and one for the other party. Please verify with the Administrative Hearings Coordinator or the Presiding Officer the number of copies required. In addition should you have any recordings, video, or other electronic documents you wish to display, please contact us ASAP so that we may help facilitate their display.

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  3. What may I expect at the hearing?
  4. At the beginning of the hearing, the Presiding Officer will generally give an introduction of the procedure that will be followed in the hearing. Each party may be permitted to present an opening statement and then witnesses may be called. Each party has the right to question his or her own witness. The opposing party then has the right to conduct cross-examination of that witness. Commissioners may also ask questions at any point in time. Documents may be presented as evidence through witnesses or through stipulation of the parties. The Presiding Officer will rule on the admissibility of evidence and any objections raised. At the end of the hearing, each party may be permitted to present a closing argument.

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  5. What is the "burden of proof"?
  6. The applicant or party requesting Commission approval bears the burden of proof under the Gambling Control Act to prove that they are suitable for licensure. The Bureau or Complainant does need to prove the applicant's non-suitability or any particular basis for denial that may be contained in the Bureau Report.

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  7. What happens if I fail to attend the hearing?
  8. If a party fails to attend the hearing, the Commissioners may proceed with the hearing in the party's absence, or the Commissioners may issue a default order against the absent party.

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  9. How long will my hearing take?
  10. It entirely depends on the complexity of your application. Most hearings are done in an hour or two, but some may continue for a day or more. If you have a large number of witnesses, it can be expected the hearing will take longer due to direct and cross examination.

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  11. How do the Commissioners vote on applications?
  12. The Commissioners are free at the conclusion of the hearing to act on a license either in open or closed session. However, Commissioners generally close the record and consider the application submitted before convening in closed session for deliberations. While there, Commissioners may, but are not required to, vote on an application. They may also seek preparation of a decision by a staff attorney before voting one way or the other. In general, applicants must secure 3 votes to procure a license or other approval under the unique requirements of the Gambling Control Act. Any motion for approval or denial that garners less than three votes would fail and no action would be taken.

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  13. I did not submit my Notice of Defense form, do I have to participate OR can I still participate?
  14. In short, you do not need to participate. You may still attend and it is also possible you can request the rights contained in the Notice of Defense form the Commission may have deemed waived. However, due to the failure to timely supply the Notice of Defense, the Commission may choose to simply take a default on the application without taking evidence, or it may choose to reach the merits of your application with minimal amounts of evidence being taken, or it may choose to simply continue the hearing in light of your request.

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Post-Hearing

  1. When will a decision be issued?
  2. The Commission is required to issue a decision no later than 75 days after the conclusion of the hearing.

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  3. What may I do if I disagree with the Commission's decision?
  4. A party may request reconsideration of the Commission's decision within 30 days of its issuance or before the effective date, whichever is earlier. This request must be copied to the Bureau and include any newly discovered evidence or legal authorities that could not reasonably have been presented before the issuance of the Commission decision, or other good cause which the Commission may decide warrants reconsideration. Beyond the point of reconsideration you are free to seek a judicial writ under Business and Professions Code section 19870(e).

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