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Jason Somerville Discusses California Internet Poker Regulation On CNBC

PokerStars Rep Says Government Should Tax, Regulate Real-Money Games


Poker professional and WSOP bracelet winner Jason Somerville appeared on CNBC this week to talk about the benefits of regulating online poker sites. His appearance comes as the state of California continues to ponder legislation to legalize and regulate the industry.

Somerville is sponsored by PokerStars, which is lobbying for the Golden State to pass the online poker bill. California lawmakers have looked at online poker for about a decade now, but the last two years have produced some material progress on legislation. In April, lawmakers voted on an online poker bill for only the second time ever.

Some politically powerful tribal governments with gambling are still opposing PokerStars’ involvement in the California market because it facilitated games for Americans between 2006 and 2011. Online poker existed in what has been called a gray legal area during that time. PokerStars settled with the federal government over that activity without admitting to any wrongdoing.

Somerville’s appearance can be watched here.

A vote on the California bill was tentatively planned for Monday, but it was moved to Thursday as lawmakers continue to negotiate provisions regarding “suitability” for licensure.

Should the bill be successful in a full Assembly vote, it would move to the Senate for consideration. If the Senate approves it, which there is no guarantee that it will, the proposal would move to the governor’s desk for a signature or veto.