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 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 Notice of Defense form, the notice of hearing will also affirm the applicant's rights have been waived and include an advisory that the Commission may issue 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, §§19800 et seq., 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
Department of Justice, Bureau of Gambling Control
P.O. Box 16824
Sacramento, CA 95816-8024
Phone: 916-830-1700
Department of Justice, Indian and Gaming
Law Section
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
Phone: 916-210-7850

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

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 continuance?
  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 to the hearing?
  2. What may I expect at the hearing?
  3. What is an "Opening Statement"?
  4. What is a "Closing Argument"?
  5. What is the "burden of proof"?
  6. What happens if I fail to attend the hearing?
  7. How long will my hearing take?
  8. How do the Commissioners vote on applications?

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 Background Investigation Report (Bureau Report) along with any specific issues identified by the Commissioners in advance of the hearing. You will 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 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 after the Commission considers your application or other approval at a regularly scheduled open meeting. The evidentiary hearing referral letter will include a "Notice of Defense" form.

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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 want to prove up your application during a hearing before the Commission.

    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. However, if you believe you should be found suitable and want to participate, you are entitled to a hearing. You are provided 15 days from your receipt of the "Notice of Defense" form to return it to the Commission.

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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) will conclude that an applicant does not want to participate in the hearing 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 you to prove any aspect of your suitability. During this hearing, the Bureau may offer facts and evidence beyond its Bureau Report, or the Commission may simply find that you have failed to meet your burden of proving your qualifications to receive a license or other approval pursuant to Business and Professions Code section 19856 and deny your application.

    If you decide that you want to participate in the hearing even though you did not return your Notice of Defense form, you should contact the Commission's Administrative Hearings Coordinator as soon as possible and submit your Notice of Defense form, or request another Notice of Defense form and submit it.

    Additionally, you may still attend the hearing and it is also possible for you to request the rights contained in the Notice of Defense form that the Commission may have deemed waived. However, due to your failure to timely submit the Notice of Defense form, the Commission may decide upon your application with little or no evidence being admitted or it may choose to continue the hearing in light of your request.

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  11. What if I return my Notice of Defense form but later decide I don't want a hearing?
  12. You may withdraw your Notice of Defense form and waive your right to a hearing at any time before the hearing. You can submit a new Notice of Defense form that clearly waives your right to a hearing and send it to the Commission's Administrative Hearings Coordinator. You can also send a letter or an email to the Commission's Administrative Hearings Coordinator with a copy to the Complainant that waives your right to a hearing and all related rights. The Commission may proceed as if you did not return your Notice of Defense form (see Question 5).

    Abandonment of your application 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. Deeming an application abandoned is at the sole discretion of the Commission. 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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  13. Where will my hearing be held?
  14. 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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  15. Is there an additional cost for an administrative hearing?
  16. There is no additional cost for an administrative hearing beyond what you may expect to pay in presenting your own case such as the cost of legal representation or obtaining and copying documentary evidence. Commission regulations further prevent either party from prevailing against the other party for the awarding of costs.

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  17. Do I need an attorney or can I represent myself?
  18. You may represent yourself in an administrative hearing and are not 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 comply 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. Furthermore, while a lay representative may assist you at the hearing, it remains your responsibility to prove your suitability to the Commissioners.

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  19. If I need an interpreter, is one provided?
  20. Yes. If you need an interpreter, one will be provided at no cost to you. Please contact the Administrative Hearings Coordinator as far in advance of the hearing as possible. You may also raise this issue at the Pre-Hearing Conference with the Presiding Officer.

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  21. Will the hearing be accessible to persons with disabilities?
  22. Yes. If you or your witnesses need special accommodations to be able to access the Commission's hearings, please contact the Administrative Hearings Coordinator 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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  23. May I contact the Commissioners to discuss my case?
  24. 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 (Complainant) in your communications, you may send emails, letters, or motions to the Presiding Officer. You may also ask questions at the Pre-Hearing Conference.

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  25. May the hearing be held by telephone or by video conference?
  26. No. You must attend the hearing in person. Witnesses must also attend the hearing in person.

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  27. May I settle my case without a hearing?
  28. 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 the applications or other requests for approval. 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, this new recommendation can be presented to the Commission either in advance of the hearing or at the hearing itself and the Commission will consider it.

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  29. How may I request a copy or a transcript of the recording of the hearing?
  30. 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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  31. What does the Commission Hearing room look like?
  32. The Commission Hearing room is the same room used for 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 you and the Bureau representative 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 recess to at the conclusion of the hearing to deliberate on the application or other request for approval.

    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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  33. How does the process for an application flow from start to finish?
  34. 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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  35. What if I have additional questions that are not answered in this FAQ?
  36. The Bureau (or Complainant) may be able to answer most of the questions you have especially regarding 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, a Pre-Hearing Conference will be set up by the Administrative Hearings Coordinator in which you may ask questions of the Presiding Officer and the Complainant.

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  37. My hearing was sent to the APA? What do I do?
  38. 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 Procedure Act hearings until the proposed decision is issued. The procedures and practices are different than in hearings before the Commission as provided in this FAQ. We recommend you speak to the Administrative Hearings Coordinator about any questions, but you can also contact the Office of Administrative Hearings directly. They can be contacted here:

    Office of Administrative Hearings
    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
    https://www.dgs.ca.gov/OAH

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  39. I'm a Designated Agent, what do I need to do?
  40. 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 the Commission will assume you are the Designated Agent for the applicant and will assist or 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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Pre-Hearing

  1. How do I prepare for my hearing?
  2. The hearing is your chance to prove to the Commission that 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 want to consider obtaining assistance from an attorney or other representative.

    You should be prepared to testify under oath regarding the information in your application, such as criminal history, work history, litigation history, and financial history. You should also find any witnesses or documents that you believe address the Commission's concerns and otherwise support your suitability.

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  3. How do I subpoena witnesses and documents?
  4. Subpoenas are issued in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act. A subpoena or subpoena duces tecum (which is a subpoena for documents) 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. Motions should include your case number, your name, address, and telephone number. You should send a copy of your motion to the other party (or parties) 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 to continue the hearing to a later date as soon as you know of the problem. You should send a copy of your request to the other party (or parties) at the same time you send it to the Commission. You must address your request to the Commission's Executive Director. However, you may send the request via email to the Administrative Hearings Coordinator or the Presiding Officer. The request must establish good cause for your inability to attend the hearing as presently scheduled. You should be prepared to provide supporting documentation if requested, such as a doctor's note. Communication with and agreement from the other party (or parties) before you make the formal request is encouraged.

    Ultimately the executive director will weigh your request and the information you provide and determine if a postponement or continuance is warranted. You will be notified as soon as possible by the Administrative Hearings Coordinator if your request has been approved and the next steps for rescheduling the hearing.

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  9. Will there be a Pre-Hearing Conference between me, the Bureau (or Complainant), and the Presiding officer?
  10. A telephonic Pre-Hearing Conference is almost always scheduled automatically by the Administrative Hearings Coordinator and will include you, the Bureau (or Complainant), and the Presiding Officer. If one is not scheduled you may ask the Presiding Officer for one. During a Pre-Hearing Conference, the Presiding Officer will discuss matters related to the upcoming evidentiary hearing, including the purpose of the hearing, the burden of proof, how the hearing will proceed, how to offer evidence, the deadlines to exchange witness lists and exhibits, the date and time of the hearing, and other issues regarding the hearing. You are encouraged to participate and ask questions.

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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. You are 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 to the hearing?
  2. The hearing is your chance to prove to the Commission that you are suitable for licensure. You should bring any witnesses or documents that you believe support your case. If you sent electronic copies of the documents that you want to place into evidence before the hearing to the Administrative Hearings Coordinator, you only need to bring an original and two copies. One copy will be provided to the Complainant and the other copy for the witness table. If you did not send electronic copies to the Administrative Hearings Coordinator prior to the hearing, you need to bring an 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 (5) and 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 the Administrative Hearings Coordinator or Presiding Officer so that we may help facilitate their display.

    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. 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. During the next phase of the hearing, each party may request that documents be entered into evidence so that the Commissioners can review them. Documents may be presented as evidence through witnesses or through stipulation of the parties. Witnesses may be called and questioned under oath. Each party has the right to question his or her own witness. The other party then has the right to conduct cross-examination of that witness. Commissioners may also ask questions at any point in time. You should also expect to testify under oath yourself. The Presiding Officer will rule on the admissibility of evidence and on any objections made. At the end of the hearing, each party is permitted to present a closing argument.

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  5. What is an "Opening Statement"?
  6. An opening statement is a statement made by a party at the beginning of the hearing before evidence is introduced. The opening statement outlines the party's position in regards to the application and previews the evidence that will be introduced later. The purpose of an opening statement is to familiarize the Commissioners with what they will hear -- and why they will hear it -- not to present an argument as to why the party's side should prevail; that comes after all evidence is presented as part of the closing argument.

    If you do not have a representative, opening statements can be difficult in that you may at times diverge from what is properly discussed in an opening statement and start providing testimony. This is a problem since applicants are not sworn in during opening statements and anything they say at that time would not be evidence for the record. For that reason, you may either attempt to give an opening statement without giving testimony, or alternatively, you can waive your opening statement and simply testify later. It is ultimately up to you as to which way you wish to proceed.

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  7. What is a "Closing Argument"?
  8. A closing argument is made at the conclusion of an evidentiary hearing after all of the evidence has been presented by each party. The closing argument reviews and summarizes the evidence, and explains why the Commissioners should find in favor of the arguing party. It is the last opportunity for a party to make their case to the Commissioners. Closing arguments however are not evidence for the record.

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  9. What is the "burden of proof"?
  10. You, the applicant or party requesting Commission approval, bears the burden of proof under the Gambling Control Act to prove that you are suitable for licensure. The Bureau or Complainant does not need to prove that you are not suitable or prove any particular basis for denial that may be contained in the Bureau Report.

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  11. What happens if I fail to attend the hearing?
  12. If a party fails to attend the hearing, the Commissioners may proceed with the hearing in your absence. It is highly likely that your application or request for approval will be denied if you fail to attend the hearing.

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  13. How long will my hearing take?
  14. It 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, the hearing will take longer due to direct and cross examination. Also, sometimes the Commissioners ask one or both parties to provide more information or documentation before officially concluding the hearing.

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  15. How do the Commissioners vote on applications?
  16. The Commissioners may act on a license application either in open or closed session. However, the Commissioners generally close the record before convening in closed session to deliberate on the application or request for approval. While in closed session, the Commissioners may, but are not required to, vote on an application. They may also seek preparation of a written decision by a staff attorney before voting one way or the other. 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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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 administrative record is closed. This usually occurs at the conclusion of the hearing. However, if the Commission has requested additional information or documentation from either party, then the administrative record will be closed after the date that the information is due.

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  3. What may I do if I disagree with the Commission's decision?
  4. You 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 either newly discovered evidence and/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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