Posted 1/5/11 : New proposal is an updated version of Wright bill
A bill seeking to legalise intrastate online poker in California which was unsuccessfully launched last year by Senator Rod Wright may have a new lease of life, albeit as an updated proposal by Assemblyman Gerry Hill.
Supported by the action group Poker Voters of America, the bill will be the third to go before the Californian legislature in the coming months.
Melanie Brenner, president of the PVA told eGaming Review this week that the bill will be a poker-only version of Senator Rod Wright’s bill.
“The bill is different from Wright’s bill, it has taken out limits on the number of [operating] hubs, and introduces a further income distribution component, granting further benefits to stakeholders such as the tribes,” said Brenner.
In December last year the Morongo Tribe-led California Online Poker Association (COPA) pushed a bill sponsored by California Senator Louis Correa, and the original version of Senator Wright's bill was re-submitted by the veteran senator.
The COPA bill is particularly contentious because it proposes that COPA members, who include commercial land card rooms, be granted exclusivity to operate online poker in California. Opponents fear that such a de facto monopoly would exclude participation by some of the state’s largest gaming tribes and nearly a hundred licensed card clubs.
Earlier this week the PVA announced that it had appointed former Morongo spokesman Patrick Dorinson as its new executive director.
Supporters of online poker in the state have pointed out that legalising and taxing the pastime could help reduce the projected $25 billion Californian budget deficit.
Brenner told eGaming Review that tribal support for legalised online poker was growing, with several formerly opposed tribes now more disposed to the PVA approach. “The Pechenga and Caliente, whose opposition was a problem in the past, are now on board and want to make it happen”, Brenner claimed.