Roderick Wright, a state senator in the state of California, has reintroduced an online poker bill into legislation. If passed, the bill would legalize intrastate online poker with real money gambling capabilities. The bill, SB51, was reintroduced just a few days ago; however there are currently no hearings scheduled for the bill. Legislatures will reconvene on January 7th.
The bill has been given ‘urgency statute’ and this label means that if the bill is passed by a two-thirds majority vote, the bill would take effect immediately. Despite this fact, the bill is not expected to be heard until March or later. A few changes have been made to the bill, none of which are substantial. The bill will restrict online gambling to poker, which was one of the changes made after pressure was exerted by local Indian gaming tribes and cardrooms in the state.
The previous version of the bill was co-signed by Senator Darrel Steinberg and proposed legalizing online poker to residents of the state. This version of the bill failed due to disagreements about how to divide the market. A supporter of the previous version was the California Online Poker Association. The COPA represented casinos and Indian gaming tribes and they supported the majority if the previous bill and once it failed to pass, the group disbanded.
There were many opportunities for states in the US, including California to pass online poker options in 2012. However, many of the opportunities were squandered away as officials and legislatures could not manage to agree on certain aspects. The state of Nevada as well as Delaware has legalized the gambling option and New Jersey awaits the governor’s signature before they can offer the option. It will be interesting to see if this version of online poker legislation will move further in 2013 and hopefully online poker options will open up in the New Year in the US.
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