California Closer to Online Poker Regulation

California Closer to Online Poker Regulation

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Residents of California moved a step closer to having online poker legalised within their state thanks to a recent decision by the Assembly Governmental Organisation Committee (GO). After reviewing the merits of bill AB 431, which is sponsored by Assembly member Adam Gray, members of GO voted unanimously in favour of progressing it through the legislative process.

Although this doesn't mean the bill has been approved and regulation be implemented, it is a positive sign that the tide of political opinion has moved in favour of legalising the virtual version of the game.

According to Online Poker Report's Chris Grove, the yes vote from GO is significant for two reasons:

"This is the first time an online poker bill has received a committee vote in California. Going into the weekend, it was unclear whether the bill would have the support necessary to secure passage by the GO."

By showing their support for online poker in the first instances, it means that the industry now has a very real chance of coming to live within the coming months. Of course, a number of hurdles will need to be cleared before this is possible, but many are suggesting this is the clearest sign yet that California will become a regulated igaming state.

Morongo Band of Mission Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Commerce Casino, Hawaiian Gardens Casino and Bicycle Casino, along with Amaya/PokerStars gave their backing to the latest news. A joint statement read:

"Today’s passage of AB 431 (Gray) out of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee represents a milestone for authorizing online poker in California. While this is just the first step in what will be a long process, it’s still important. Never before has an online poker bill had anything more than an informational hearing, much less been voted upon and passed out of committee.

“Finalizing the details of the legislation that will regulate California’s online poker marketplace still need to be worked out. But so far, 2015 is different. Hard lines and tough talk have morphed into open minds and dialogue. The vote today underscores the momentum building to help ensure that California finally passes iPoker legislation.

“Authorizing online poker will be good for millions of consumers and poker players who will benefit from a safe, regulated environment where they are protected. Every year that California fails to act not only puts consumers at risk while playing online games from offshore localities that provide few protections and regulations, but our state also loses out on collecting hundreds of millions of dollars that can be used for essential programs like public schools, public safety, healthcare and social services.

The reason many feel this is significant is because California is one of the most populated states in the US and is seen as the possible lynchpin that will unlock many more regions. Although there are lot of ifs still in the equation, the recent news is hugely positive for both the industry in the US and the community at large.

Tags: California, regulation, politics, USA