Committee Vote Positive in Californian Online Poker Debate

Published Tuesday, April 28, 2015 -
Committee Vote Positive in Californian Online Poker Debate

Lawmaking in the USA is a long process of committees, bills introduced and then debate and more  voting. In California the process for changing the gambling laws has been going on for seven years now with little progress. The online poker debate is a well established issue in California’s gambling industry with tribal interests and racetracks unable to find common ground in order to create a regulated and fair  situation agreeable to every stakeholder.

It was just announced that the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee unanimously passed AB 431, the online poker bill introduced by GO Committee Chairman Adam Gray. The jubilation was mute in so much that this so called historical breakthrough was thin on details. The hearing marks the first time California’s many diverse gambling interests were able to agree on or not oppose, a bill moving forward. Interests are calling this “shell bill” the first online poker bill to pass the important steps in the process for change.

Although the passing of the bill at this level is just a small step it signals a willingness on the divided sides to further their discussions but if the sides do not concede to certain conditions the bill has little chance of passing a full Assembly vote. There are two major groups divided on the two issues of so-called ‘bad actors’ and allowing the participation of race tracks. The one faction led by Pechanga and Agua Caliente is seeking exclusions in regulated online poker while the larger group supports an inclusive marketplace. On  May 20, a joint informational hearing of the Assembly and Senate Governmental Organization Committee is scheduled with the title "Overview of Gambling in California — Legality, Authorization and Regulation." At which the discussion will continue at the next level. With all respective stakeholders represented in the next round of talks there could be even more heated debate and unwavering positioning for market share of the lucrative online poker market.



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