Tuesday August 18,2015 : CALIFORNIA LEGALISATION HOPES FOR THIS YEAR FADING
Just three weeks left for a breakthrough, but Pechanga and Agua Caliente unlikely to cooperate on exclusions.
More than seven years of striving to get an online poker legalization bill to a floor vote in the California state legislature could again end in frustration and failure this year as a procedural deadline looms just three weeks away.
Tribal, online poker, racetrack and card room alliances remain at odds on who should and should not be allowed into the market, with the Pechanga and Agua Caliente tribal groups particularly insistent on bad actor and racetrack exclusionary provisions.
Local media reports from sources in the state capital say that it will take a superhuman effort for the Pokerstars-cardrooms-tribal alliance and the racetrack interests to gain enough traction for success in the weeks remaining before the August 28 deadline for fiscal committees to report bills to the floor, and the end of the current session on September 11.
These parties have been mounting a concerted push, and officials are not yet writing off the attempt, but caution that time is fast running out, and political attention is currently more focused on budget and state water and wildfire issues
AB 431, a “shell” bill lacking specific language and authored by Assembly Government Organization Committee chairman Adam Gray, remains the proposal that has advanced the furthest so far, having passed both the Government Organization and Appropriations committees (see previous InfoPowa reports), but it remains on the Assembly inactive list and will require further discussion and debate.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto's bill was effectively abandoned earlier this year when positions remained to all intents and purposes immovable, and Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer's AB167 missed last week's deadline for a hearing, although the Assemblyman may try for inclusion before the Government Organization Committee on August 28. His bill has more detail and allows for the involvement of racetracks and Pokerstars through careful language.