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California I-Poker Bill Advances Out Of Committee

Lawmakers Reach Milestone In Online Poker Debate


One of several online poker bills on the table in California cleared a legislative committee on Monday, marking the first time that lawmakers in the state have voted on an online poker proposal. They had failed to do so for years.

The bill, AB 431, navigated out of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.

The coalition formed by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, California’s three largest card clubs—Commerce Casino, Hawaiian Gardens Casino and the Bicycle Casino—and Amaya which owns and operates PokerStars said in a statement:

“Finalizing the details of the legislation that will regulate California’s online poker marketplace still need to be worked out. But so far, 2015 is different. Hard lines and tough talk have morphed into open minds and dialogue. The vote today underscores the momentum building to help ensure that California finally passes [Internet] Poker legislation."

The group added: “While this is just the first step in what will be a long process, it’s still important.” Another tribal group is optimistic.

“There’s still plenty of work to be done and issues to be resolved," the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians said. “[We are] optimistic that this is the year for Internet poker in California. After five years of debates, some of the heavy lifting of crafting legislation has been done. Now, it is time for the stakeholders to come together, end the politics and solve the final issues.”

The next public hearing for California online poker is scheduled for May 20.

AB 431 is currently a shell of what would eventually, if everything fell into place, navigate through the full legislative process. Amendments to the bill are forthcoming.

Earlier this year the expert consensus was that 2015 and 2016 weren’t likely for California to OK online poker. Monday’s hearing possibly changes some things. Stay tuned.