Former California Gambling Chief to Be Stripped of Gaming Licenses
The former head of California’s Gaming Control Board has reached a settlement deal with the state which would strip him of his licenses to own or work as a consultant for Golden State cardrooms, after being caught passing inappropriate information to Casino M8trix, one of his new clients.
Wasting no time
Robert Lytle headed the state Division of Gambling Control until 2007, when he resigned to work for one of the cardrooms he once regulated. In fact, the former gambling chief had already negotiated a new job with Casino M8trix before he retired, and told his underlings to “cut back” on investigations into the card room.
In 2014, Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris accused Lytle of soliciting confidential information from his former colleagues in the gambling control office to help stymie a probe into whether Casino M8trix laundered millions of dollars in profits to avoid paying taxes. Investigators claim that during a year-long period, Lytle made 180 telephone calls and shared numerous emails with the office’s special agent in charge.
“[Lytle’s] receipt of such information and documents potentially compromised the effectiveness, and undermined the integrity, of the bureau’s investigations,” gaming officials said.
To avoid a further conflict of interest, Richard Lopes, the former chairman of the California Gambling Control Commission, and Tina Littleton, the commission’s former executive director, recused themselves from the investigation due to their personal relationships to Lytle.
Officials also noted that, before leaving, Lytle issued a controversial opinion which allowed cardrooms to spread house-banked games, something which state tribes believe should be illegal.
As part of his agreement, Lytle will make “limited admissions” about some of his improprieties at the gaming control board. “Those admissions will be, big-picture-wise, that he solicited and received confidential information from bureau personnel, and that he failed to disclose violations of the Gambling Control Act,” said Deputy Atty. Gen. William Torngren.
Lytle has agreed to give up his licenses to operate or consult for California card rooms and will pay upwards of $75,000 in fines.