California Online Poker Bill Put On Shelf Until 2009

Californians who have been anxiously awaiting the result of Assemblyman Lloyd Levine’s online poker bill, AB 2026, will have to wait a little longer now. The bill was put on the shelf for the remainder of the year, scheduled to be reintroduced to the Senate Appropriations Committee in January of 2009.

Originally introduced in February of 2008 as a bill to study the potential of legalizing online poker in California, AB 2026 was then revised to actually legalize the act of playing online poker in California, rather than studying the issue. However, the last time AB 2026 went to the committee, it was merely revised again, back to its original ‘study of online poker’ terminology.

There was no statement given as to why Levine’s AB 2026 was put on the back burner until 2009, but an overload of other political matters to attend to is the suspected reason.

Jim Tabilio, president of Poker Voters of America, is the citizen sponsor of AB 2026 and was actually responsible for calling a hold on the bill. Last month, Tabilio was very pleased with the committee’s approval of the bill. “It’s a good sign that the legislators are taking this issue seriously, understand the importance of the bill and are asking the right questions. The plan going forward is to bring together the potential stakeholders to help craft a final version of the bill that protects Californians who play online and maximizes revenue for the state.”

There are an estimated 2 million online poker players residing in California, and the state has been right at the forefront with efforts to legalize the activity for its many supporting citizens. Anthony “Tuff Fish” Sandstrom lead a campaign in 2007 to establish a state-run online poker room. He received more than enough signatures on his petition to see it go to a public vote on the February 2008 ballot, butpersonally withdrew the initiative before the time came.

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