California Online Poker Legislation Pushes Forward
California has twice before pushed online poker legislation for the Golden State, and twice it has been stalemated. Perhaps the third time is the charm in this case, as California once again introduces legislation which would allow its residents and visitors to enjoy online poker within the state boundaries. No other forms of casino gambling or online wagering are supported with the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2013, and this unique piece of legislation would also allow the already popular and well-established Indian tribal casinos and card rooms in the state first access at an Internet gaming license.
Next-door neighbor Nevada was the first state in the US to legalize online poker after the Department of Justice (DOJ) reversed their opinion on the matter in late 2011. Just last month Nevada officially opened the doors on the first legal US-based online poker room since that DOJ decision. The new draft of legislation would allow California to team up with states like Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware and combine their player pools. But California certainly does not need the help of smaller states like Nevada to access substantial amounts of potential online poker players.
With more than 37 million people in the Golden State, if California does indeed pass statewide legislation legalizing online poker, the three smaller states currently offering online poker legally, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware, would be knocking down California's virtual doors in the hopes of a partnership. The new California legislation would also forbid the state's many horse-racing venues from offering online poker. In addition, the "bad actor" wording in this new legislation would also forbid any company from offering online poker in California if that company had previously offered online gambling in any form to its state's residents in the past.
As long as California-based card rooms and tribal casinos obtained an Internet gaming license under this new legislation, they would still be able to employ business-to-business software, gaming and technology providers located outside of the state. This bill was designed by eight of California's Indian tribal groups, and there are currently two other pieces of legislation proposing California online poker still in the legislature. No bill has ever made it as far as the California Governor's desk, but there is positive hope that since this current piece of online poker legislation for the Golden State takes care of tribal casinos and existing card rooms, it may have the best chance of passage yet.
That means that currently there are two pieces of legislation being promoted by California state Senators, and one, this most current offering, being hawked by the state's Indian tribal groups. In other US online poker news, just this week New York Congressman Peter King put forth a federal US online poker bill, and it awaits a vote in Congress. California stands to benefit financially more than any other state due to its large population, if online poker is eventually legalized there. And if they can get a statewide measure passed before any federal legislation is approved, the Golden State can ensure keeping more of the online poker-generated revenue at home.