California

Two bills seeking to regulate online poker in the state of California were introduced on Friday.

Bill AB 2291, introduced in the state assembly as an urgency bill, is authored by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-59) and calls for the prohibition of online gambling outside of internet poker. The bill allows for civil penalties to be levied against those that engage in “illegal” online gaming with the proceeds to benefit an Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Fund.

Online poker regulations would need to be adopted within 270 days of the operative date of the bill. The bill also calls for California to opt out of any federal internet gambling law.

As an urgency bill, a 2/3 majority is required to pass both houses, and it would take effect immediately after being enacted into law.

Bill SB 1366, introduced in the state senate as an urgency bill, is authored by State Senator Lou Correa (D-34) and also calls for the prohibition of online gambling outside of poker. Correa’s bill calls for regulations to be adopted within 120 days of the effective date of the bill.

Correa has a long history of pushing for online poker in California. His most recent attempt was introduced in February of last year.

While legislators in California have been trying to pass internet poker into law for several years, the stakeholders in the state—including tribal interests, brick-and-mortar card rooms and the horseracing industry—have not been able to agree on an equitable share of the pie.

However, given that three states have gone live with internet poker in the last ten months, and the recent push to ban all forms of online gambling, the stakeholders in California may finally be ready to compromise.