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California online poker bill closer than ever

May 12, 2016

A few months ago, State Senator Isadore Hall and State Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced several bills (SB 278 and AB 431 respectively), bringing online poker closer than ever. However, it was not until two weeks ago when California’s Assembly Governmental Organization Committee voted 18-0 in favor of the new bill AB 2863, the final step to legalize online poker in the Golden State. Introduced by Assemblyman Adam Gray, online gambling bill AB 2863 still needs to pass by two-thirds before heading to the Senate for the final vote. Some of the most important matters in online gambling have been properly addressed by this bill, such as consumer protections. The bill has gathered all kind of supporters, but the racing industry has been significantly the most powerful of them all. The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, the Native American tribe that owns Harrah’s Resort Southern California, also supports the bill. Rincon Band’s Steve Stallings stated: “For the first time, we have moved closer to a consensus with Tribal governments, cardrooms, horse racing industry and labor groups supporting a safe and secure environment for Californians to use today’s technology to play poker. “We know and understand the complexity of this issue and know that more work is needed. However, with the momentum established today, an internet poker bill can and will pass this year; we look forward to continued discussions with stakeholders and the legislature”.

However, the bill still have to face the fierce opposition from the Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, the organization created by Las Vegas Sands chief executive Sheldon Adelson and supported by strong Native American tribes such as the Pechanga and Agua Caliente.

Assemblyman Adam Gray is still optimistic about this turning point. He stated: “We started this process last year with two major points of contention around horse racing and the suitability issue. We have addressed one of those concerns in a way that has brought together a coalition of support that we have never seen over the course of that decade. While we have not yet come to a consensus on this issue, through recent meetings with Tribal leaders, we have made serious progress”.


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