The California Assembly has approved legislation intended to prevent welfare recipients from using their benefit debit cards at casinos or strip clubs. This bill would prevent the cards from being used at ATM’s located in such establishments. Democratic Assemblyman Henry Perea says it would help prevent abuse:
“Roughly 76 percent of all CALworks recipients are children,” said Perea. “CALworks is meant to make sure that children are provided with basic needs, not for adults to purchase alcohol or gamble at casinos.”
But Democrat Holly Mitchell says recipients in some areas have few options for accessing their cash. “If I were in Tulare, or San Bernardino and Riverside and the card room were closer to me than my local point of sale location where I could get cash with my card, who’s to say that I wouldn’t walk into a casino to draw access off of my card to get cash for my family?” she said.
The bill is a response to news reports that showed hundreds of thousands of dollars in welfare benefits were being withdrawn at casinos and adult entertainment centers.