California Re-introduces Online Poker Bill

California Re-introduces Online Poker Bill January 1, 2013 January 1, 2013 Tim Glocks
Posted on  Jan 1, 2013 | Updated on  Jan 1, 2013 by Tim Glocks

budgetCalifornia State Senator Roderick Wright has re-introduced a bill that will legalize and regulate online poker in California if it is passed into law, giving online poker players in California the opportunity to play real money online poker in a safe, licensed, and regulated environment. Called SB51, this online poker bill was re-introduced a few days back, but hearings have not yet been scheduled for it. Meanwhile, the legislative session is scheduled to re-commence on Jan 7.

Since the bill has been placed in the “urgent” category, it will be brought into effect immediately if two-thirds of the house will vote in favor of it. In spite of its “urgent” status, the bill will not be heard earlier than March or even later. While the online poker bill has been modified slightly, none of these changes are significant. If passed into law, it will legalize and regulate only online poker, a change that was especially demanded by card rooms and Indian gambling tribes in California.

One of the senators who signed a previous version of this bill, which proposed the legalization and regulation of intrastate online poker in California, was Darrel Steinberg. Since it failed to address the interests of various groups in the California gambling market, this bill could not be passed. The California Online Poker Association (COPA), an organization representing Indian gambling tribes and casinos, was one of the bodies that supported this version of the online poker bill. However, once the bill was rejected, the COPA got disbanded.

The Department of Justice’s (DoJ) recent re-interpretation of the Wire Act of 1961, according to which, only online sports betting is to be considered illegal, threw open a floodgate of opportunities for individual US states to legalize and regulate their respective online gambling industries. In fact, US states, including California, got no dearth of opportunities to pass proper poker laws in 2012.

However, several states lost these opportunities as their lawmakers could not agree on any bill. Nevada and Delaware got into action quickly and created a regulatory framework for online gaming. Nevada has already issued licenses to several online gambling operators and providers of online gambling solutions. New Jersey is currently waiting for Gov. Chris Christie to approve its online gambling bill.

Only time can tell if California succeeds in passing its latest version of the online poker bill and if more gambling opportunities will unfold in the US.

Tim GlocksAuthor

Tim Glocks is a retired professor, he currently contributes to Tim enjoys playing poker and has taken it up as a hobby since his retirement. He has taken part in many online tournaments and has become a veteran in a short space of time. Visit Tim’s google + page here