Roderick Wright, senator of California, has re-introduced an online poker bill, which will legalize real money online poker gambling within California.
Around 2 months before Wright re-introduced the online poker bill, the California Online Poker Association (COPA) disbanded all of a sudden, leaving its coalition of 31 tribal casinos and live poker rooms without a lobbying group.
COPA’s official website calonlinepoker.org also shut down around the same time.
Last week, a spokesperson for Senator Roderick Wright had announced that the online poker bill will be soon re-introduced. Once known as SB 1463, it was amended as an exclusive online poker bill on June 4, 2012 with Senator Wright as its sole sponsor and Senator Darrel Steinberg as its strongest supporter. As expected, the bill was re-introduced this week, but no hearings have been scheduled as yet.
The state of California has made several attempts to regulate and legalize its online poker industry, but its attempts resulted in failure because of internal conflicts among its live poker rooms, the horse racing industry, and tribal groups. The latest changes made to the bill was “a blanket waiver of tribal sovereign immunity” to meet the demands of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), which represents nine South Californian tribes.
The COPA promised to support the bill if it prohibits horse racing associations from getting online poker licenses. However, when lawmakers in California failed to pass the bill, the COPA disbanded. When asked whether COPA’s absence will have any adverse effect on the legalizing of online poker, Wright’s spokesperson said, “Time will tell, we will begin where we left off.”
Since the bill is an “urgency statute,” it will be brought into effect if two-thirds of the house approves of it, but hearings are not expected before March. Wright’s online poker bill, which goes under the full name of “Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2013” resembles the original SB 1463, which was introduced during the previous legislative session.
The bill is a poker-only bill owing to the demands of native tribes and existing live poker rooms. However, the chances of the bill being passed are slim because of the internal conflicts among various industry groups.
Since there are no more chances for federal legalization of online gaming this year, a few states are planning to legalize intrastate online gambling. Delaware and Nevada have already legalized online gambling and New Jersey is waiting for Governor Chris Christie’s signature.