Wednesday April 23 ,2014 : BIG DAY FOR CALIFORNIA ONLINE POKER (Update)
Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization to hear testimony from 33 witnesses.
Today (Wednesday) is an important day in the legislative history of online poker in California as 33 witnesses with different views on legalization give testimony before a California State Assembly committee.
Titled rather ponderously as "The Future Public Policy and Fiscal Implications of Authorizing iPoker Gaming in California," the hearing in front of the 19 members of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization will consider ten topics during the session.
Committee chairman Isadore Hall will open proceedings, former chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board Mark Lipparelli, who talk on the evolution internet gaming.
Other online gambling management experts will follow, including Tobin Prior, CEO of Ultimate Gaming; Tom Ballance, President and COO of Borgata Hotel and Casino in New Jersey; and analyst Chris Krafcik of Gambling Compliance.
A major contribution to the proceedings is expected to come from tribal groups with mixed demands regarding online poker in the state. The chairmen from seven powerful tribes with gambling interests will place on record their thoughts, which are particularly important in the California context, where two competing online poker legalization bills await the attention of lawmakers in the Legislature.
The chairman of the California Gambling Control Commission, Richard Lopes, is another key figure in today's proceedings; he will give evidence on the practicalities of regulation and how the Commission might go about implementation if agreement can be reached on the legalization of online poker.
On the negative side, arch online gambling opponent Sheldon Adelson is sending his lieutenant Andy Abboud to give evidence, which is expected to focus on the socio-economic threat of legalised online poker.
Another organisation that has expressed restrictive views in the past is the California Tribal Business Alliance, which will be represented by its treasurer, Robert Smith. The two legalization bills currently before the state Legislature are AB 2291 (Jones-Sawyer) and SB 1366 (Correa). CTBA member tribes are part of a coalition of tribes who are currently supporting AB 2291.
The hearing will focus attention once more on the technology and measures available to ensure safe, secure and fair online activity that excludes criminals, the under-aged and problem gamblers. The views of internet service providers, employment experts and enforcement officials will also be heard.