On Monday, a bill to legalize online poker within the state of California was removed from the Assembly floor so that more time could be provided for negotiations to take place. Adam Gray, an Assemblyman of the state, is the sponsor of the measure who has pushed to see online poker passed within California. The card rooms and horse racing industry are behind the measure but the Indian tribes behind casino gaming seem to be split on the idea. Some tribes want to be able to offer online poker gaming while others feel the option would threaten their gaming revenues.
Assemblyman Gray’s Chief of Staff, Trent Hager, has stated that his office is hoping to see the bill come up for a vote this Thursday. If the measure passes the Assembly, the Senate will need to approve the measure. The Senate has not been very gung-ho when it comes to online poker and may not be willing to see the legislation move forward.
The main problem with passing legislation in the state involves companies like PokerStars who were offering online poker gaming services when there was a gray area within the law. Online poker was not officially authorized by the Department of Justice until 2011 but brands like PokerStars operated in the US years before.
Lawmakers are not interested in passing legislation until all gambling interests are able to settle on a regulatory system that will be fair. Interested parties cannot seem to agree on how companies like PokerStars, who operated during the gray area, should be penalized before being able to take part in the industry.
With the bill as it currently stands, companies like PokerStars will have to wait a time frame of five years before being able to offer services. Instead of waiting, operators would have the option to pay an additional $20 million to the state. This stipulation is fine with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians as well as other tribes. However, a coalition that includes the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians want to see the penalty raised to 10 years and $60 million to be paid.
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