State Senator Lou Correa is the author of SB 1366, a bill that would have legalized intrastate poker. Many online poker pundits were optimistic the bill would be passed this session, but Correa recently decided to remove it from the legislative calendar.
California is an important state in the fight to legalize online poker in the United States. It will single handily prove the legitimacy and revenue potential for online poker helping Pennsylvania and future states weighing the potential for online gaming expansion.
Correa said that there wasn’t enough interest to get the bill passed. He doubted that he could generate sufficient support in the next three days. Convincing gaming tribes and state card rooms to reach a consensus on an online poker bill has been one of the biggest hurdles lawmakers have faced.
Representatives from most tribes and card room owners have finally reached agreement on an online bill. However, there was still some controversy over the proposed legislation. The bill contained a “bad actor’s” clause, which would have prohibited PokerStars and other companies that violated the UIGEA from receiving an online poker license. PokerStars, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Bicycle Casino, the Commerce Club and the Hawaiian Gardens Casino voiced opposition to the proposal.
There is still a possibility online poker will be legalized in 2014. Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer introduced a similar bill in February, which could still be passed.
However, lawmakers will need to make the bill a top priority since time is running out. California’s legislative session will end on August 31. Online poker proponents are optimistic that the legislation may be passed within that time frame. Rumors from state leaders in Sacramento indicate that lawmakers will try to pass Jones-Sawyer’s bill this session.
Online poker may still not be legalized in 2014, but the probability of future legislation being passed has increased. Correa, Jones-Sawyer and many of their colleagues remain committed to regulating online poker in the Golden State.