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California To Consider Online Poker Bill Wednesday

New Year To Kick Off With Discussion On Legislation

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One of several bills that were introduced in California last year aiming to legalize and regulate online poker will have a hearing this week.

Assembly Bill 167, authored by Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, will be discussed Wednesday in the California Assembly Governmental Organization Committee starting at 1:30 p.m PST.

The legislation was referred to the committee in February of last year, and a hearing was being planned in July before Jones-Sawyer decided to cancel it. A different California online poker bill advanced out of the same legislative committee in April. It was the first time any California lawmaker had ever voted on an online poker bill, but no momentum was realized. The proposal that was voted on remained a shell bill for the rest of the year.

It has been estimated that the state’s online poker market could eventually be worth more than $380 million a year. Between 2009 and 2010, California players accounted for 16 percent of U.S. revenue and four percent of worldwide revenue in online poker.

California online poker regulation has not come to fruition over the past several years because various stakeholders in the state’s lucrative casino gambling market can’t come to an agreement on who should be allowed entry into a new California intrastate online poker market.

Some tribes don’t want PokerStars, the world’s largest site with nearly 70 percent of the global online poker market, to be allowed to do business with Californians.

Tribal gaming is a $28.5 billion market in the United States, with the California region representing a whopping $7.3 billion of that figure.