WHY CALIFORNIA ONLINE POKER BILL WAS PULLED LAST WEEK
Lawmakers outside the Government Organization and Appropriations committees were not sufficiently up to speed on proposals.
The failure of Assemblyman Adam Gray to push forward his online poker legalization bill AB 2863 for a vote on the California state Assembly floor on June 30 has been explained… in a last-minute tally of political support he determined that he would be just short of the two thirds vote he needed under legislative urgency bill regulations.
Pulling the bill at the last minute despite its passage through committee stages , Gray concluded that many legislators were not well versed in the bills rapidly changing nature as it passed through the Government Organization and Appropriations committees amid extensive scrutiny and debate, and that floor lawmakers needed more opportunity to review and understand AB2863s provisions.
Instead, Gray will apparently try again in August when the Assembly reconvenes after a summer recess.
The usually reliable publication Online Poker Report notes that the delay in the Assembly vote followed a torrid two seeks in which the patient and tenacious Gray tried to resolve differences – mainly on "bad actor" provisions – with the main opposition to his bill, the Pechanga-Agua Caliente led tribal coalition which appears intent on keeping Pokerstars out of the market for as long as possible.
Apparently some tension has developed between Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga and Gray, resulting in "heated exchanges" which culminated in a reportedly strange confrontation on June 27.
A tribal delegation turned up for a meeting only to be confronted by Gray, two camera operators and the Assembly Sergeant at Arms whilst Gray read out the criminal consequences of threatening an Assembly legislator.
According to sources who were involved, this inauspicious beginning did not go down well with the tribal delegation, which (by some reports) had come prepared to negotiate a compromise. One source told OPR that Grays tactics had not had a productive impact, saying:
“It took a meeting that could have been productive and injected this Alice in Wonderland start. It was not helpful.”
Whether Gray will go for an Assembly vote in August remains to be seen, but time is once again running short for legalization in California after a decade of frustrating political activity.