California Internet Poker Bill SB40 Amended

Published Thursday, April 07, 2011 -

Recently reported by the Capital Weekly a newspaper of California Government and Politics there have been amendments made to the online poker bill SB 40. Introduced by Sen.Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, the amedment is a proposed increase the number of sanctioned website hubs from three to five. The amendments were introduced on March 31, by the California Gambling Control Commission who would authorize three sites, then add “up to two additional Internet poker websites” within three years, the paper said.

The California Online Poker Association (COPA), along with their strong supporters, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, are opposed to the direction Senator Correa is taking the bill. The Morongos, one of the largest and most-established gaming tribes in the state, have been building a coalition since 2008 when the concept of internet poker in California was first introduced. Sources have revealed that representatives of Morongo have hotly debated the issue in public with the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and others at meetings of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA).

Ryan Hightower, a spokesperson for COPA, commented, “These amendments were generated by Sen. Correa’s office in consultation with a variety of related interest groups,” Hightower continued, “With regard to your second question, the state doesn’t want to flood the market too early and water down potential revenues.  Additionally, DOJ will need time to establish regulatory practices for that many sites.  By requiring a report within three years, the market will be well-regulated when the other sites launch.”

Patrick Dorinson, who works for rival association, Poker Voters of America was critical of the changes saying, “If you look at their demands, they would appear to give special treatment to COPA and carve out a site for them,” Dorinson added, “I think it’s highly unlikely that kind of bill would get consensus in the Legislature. The way to do this is have an open market, where all current California licensees, tribes and card rooms, could have their own sites.”




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