California Closer to Online Poker

California Closer to Online Poker

Friday, 29 May 2015

The chances of online poker being regulated in one of the largest states in the US took a major step forward yesterday after the California Assembly Appropriations Committee cleared Adam Gray's AB 431 bill.

Having already cleared one political hurdle before yesterday's hearing, AB 431 had been looking strong for a few weeks. However, just a few days before it was due to be reviewed by the California Assembly Appropriations Committee, the Pechanga Tribe addressed a letter to the committee stating its opposition to the bill.

Despite having previously taken a neutral stance on the proposed legislation, the tribe unexpectedly had a change of heart right at the last minute. Fortunately, however, that didn't seem to sway Chairman Jimmy Gomez or Vice-Chairman Frank Bigelow as the bill passed through the California Assembly Appropriations Committee with a unanimous vote.

One of the major benefactors of any potential legalisation of online poker in California would be PokerStars. The operator already has a coalition with the Morongo Tribe and would likely be one of the first sites to go live when legislation is passed.

However, before that can happen AB 431 will need to clear some more hurdles; one of which seems to be positioned between various factions within the gaming community. As well as opposition from Pechanga, AB 431 isn't supporting by the state's racing organisation, which essentially means there are three coalitions now at loggerheads over the bill.

Although keen to pick up on the positive news from yesterday's hearing, the PPA urged those in dispute to resolve their difference and clear the way for AB 431 sooner rather than later.

"Today marks another historic day for online poker in California. Even still, there is much work to be done for this bill to become law. We urge the interested stakeholders to put aside their competitive differences and work together in the best interest of all Californians," said the PPA in a press release.

For many industry insiders, California could be one of the states that would spark a mini-revolution in the US. Owning to its size, population and status, a thriving igaming market in the Golden State could present a golden opportunity for millions of grinders in the US.

Tags: California, USA, regulation