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Third, Fourth California Internet Poker Proposals Come Forward For 2015 Legislative Session

Pair Of Lawmakers Going To Introduce Two Identical Bills


California already has two online poker bills on the table, and it will soon have four, as a pair of lawmakers are planning on introducing their own (identical) proposals for the industry.

Senate Bill 278 and Assembly Bill 431 are going to be pushed by Senator Isadore Hall and Assemblymember Adam Gray, respectively. Both lawmakers are Democrats.

Both men are considered key figures in the part of the California legislature that would be tasked with moving an online poker measure forward if conditions are right.

As a press release reiterated, no California legislator has ever cast a vote on an online poker proposal. It’s too early to tell if their proposals will break the curse.

“The issue of iPoker in California has historically been divisive; dealing legislators, the governor and the public a folding hand,” they said in a joint statement. “It is time to work together, stop bluffing and take control of this issue. Our bills do not create winners and losers. Our bills do not take one entity’s side over another. Our bills will give the legislature, the governor, tribal governments, other gaming entities, technology providers and the public an opportunity to have an open, honest and thorough debate on this issue.”

“This will not be a rushed process,” continued Hall and Gray. “Any iPoker proposal must put California taxpayers first and must ensure a safe and responsible entertainment option for adults. If done correctly, this legislation could serve as a national model for other states to follow. We think we can do it and we’re all in to move California iPoker forward this legislative session.”

The other online poker bills currently active in California are Assembly Bill 9, introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto in December, and Assembly Bill 167, put forth by Assemblyman Reggie Jones Sawyer in January. Jones Sawyer has previous experience with poker legislation.

The coalition that includes PokerStars, the Commerce Club, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino and the Bicycle Casino and two California tribal gaming groups commented favorably about Hall and Gray: “As Governmental Organization Committee chairs, this is a significant development and underscores that momentum is building to get an iPoker bill across the finish line in 2015. We will continue to work closely with Senator Hall, Assembly Member Gray and all legislators on the content and approach of legislation in the coming weeks and months.”

PokerStars, the world’s top poker site, is not wanted in California by some tribes.

The reason why California online poker bills have failed in the past is because there’s continued disagreement about which groups should have access to the lucrative market. California is the top online poker market in the U.S., and that has actually been to its detriment so far.

Neighboring Nevada is one of only three states with an online gaming industry right now. Revenues from online poker have been disappointing in Nevada (the state doesn’t even release revenue figures anymore because there are only two poker sites now).

California is racing against efforts on Capitol Hill to ban online poker nationwide. Those efforts are spearheaded by billionaire casino boss Sheldon Adelson.