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California Senate Considers Two Online Poker Bills

Dec 12, 2010
Author: Steven Lock
California Senate Considers Two Online Poker Bills

California Senator Rod Wright has brought his online poker bill back to the State Senate, hoping that this attempt will have a better chance of passing through the legislature. The bill would legalize and regulate an intrastate system of online poker that would only be available to California residents, similar to the bill that is currently working its way through the New Jersey legislature.

The legislation would allow the California Gambling Control Commission to license up to three operators to offer online poker to California-based players. The bill was originally introduced in the previous legislative session, but did not get voted on.

Interestingly, this was the second piece of online poker legislation that was introduced in the California State Senate this week. On Monday, Senator Lou Correa introduced a similar bill that had the backing of at least some of California’s Native American tribes, who formed the California Online Poker Association to support the bill. Correa’s bill would also allow the California Gambling Control Commission to award licenses, but provides more protections to ensure that local operators gain at least some of those licensing opportunities.

Both California and New Jersey have stepped up efforts to potentially pass online poker legislation as soon as possible in the wake of reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) may attach a federal online poker bill to must-pass legislation before the end of the year. With the prospect of federal licensing that may not go to local operators on the horizon, other states that have an interest in legalizing online poker are attempting to set up local regulatory schemes before Reid’s bill potentially becomes law.

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