California Gets New Online Poker Bill
California’s always at the center of every decision. It makes sense, too, considering it’s the most populated state in the country by roughly 12 million people. It should come as no surprise, then, to learn that California, having failed to legalize online poker in the past, is trying to do so once again.
Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer has created a new bill, titled the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2015. Though it’s similar in idea to the bill proposed recently by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, the actual content of the bill is quite different.
Gatto’s bill wasn’t well received due to the restrictions in the bill. Jones-Sawyer’s bill should be better received, as it allows racetracks to offer online poker. The bill also allows card clubs and Indian tribes.
There are a few downsides, however. The bill, named AB 167, does not have a bad actor clause. A bad actor clause refers to any online gaming company that continued to do business after the UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Encorcement Act) was passed in 2006. It’s up to each individual state to add a bad actor clause. The lack of a bad actor clause means that certain unwanted companies could be allowed to operate in the state.
The bill also calls for anyone not residing on tribal land to be unable to play on tribal sites. If you remember, the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel tried to legalize online gambling on their own, stating that certain laws and restrictions didn’t apply to them. The bill would also charge those that gambled on unlicensed with a felony, for both the player and the operator of the site.
It’s a bold move by Jones-Sawyer to get online poker legalized in the state, and if it passes, it could change the entire landscape of online poker. As we mentioned earlier, California has 37 million people, which is 12 million more than the second most populated state, Texas. If any state should serve as a testing ground as to how successful online poker could be in the United States, it’d be California.
California is just one of several states to introduce new legislation this year to legalize and regulate online sports betting. Last week, Mississippi introduced legislation to legalize and regulate online gambling as well. This shows how far we’ve come – just a few years ago, there were a handful of states that were willing to take a risk on online gambling. Now, thanks to the success in those states, as well as the revenue that’s being brought in (especially last month in New Jersey, which posted record profits thanks to cold weather outside, as well as no deposit bonuses), states are fighting for the opportunity to be next in line to legalize online gambling.