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California Committee Approves Online Poker BillPublished April 30, 2015 by Elana K
Assemblyman Adam Gray’s AB 431 is a bill that would legalize online poker in California. The bill was approved by the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, but there are many steps ahead before it becomes law.
On April 26th, members of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee in California voted in favor of Assemblyman Adam Gray’s AB 431, a bill that would legalize online poker in the Golden State.
The vote came at a crucial time; in order for the bill to remain eligible during this legislative season, it needed to advance before May 1st. Details of the bill have not been released, though certain changes were made before it was approved. These changes helped opponents to the bill, the Agua Caliente and Pechanga tribes, become more neutral about it.
Bad Actors and Race Tracks
The main issues that still need to be dealt with in AB 431 are the “bad actors” clause and whether race tracks should be allowed to offer online poker options. The “bad actors” clause, which would limit those operators who continued to offer online gambling after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006, would affect poker giant PokerStars directly. As for race tracks, both the Agua Caliente and Pechanga tribes expressed their opinion that racing facilities that offer online poker would mean an expansion of the state gambling industry.
On the other hand, Steve Miller, Director for the California Poker Players Alliance, said that the legalization of online poker should not be seen as an expansion of the gambling industry.
Lynn Valbuena, Chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, stated at the April 26th hearing that the tribe would support the inclusion of a “bad actors” clause if the bill passes into law.
Will it Pass?
Lawmakers do not expect the bill to be passed into law at the end of this legislative session; the discord about the various issues seems too big to be resolved so quickly. For now, another meeting has been scheduled for May 20, in which the California Assembly and Senate Governmental Organization Committee will further discuss AB 431.