STUDY ON INTERNET POKER BILL PROGRESSES
California legislative proposal moves forward to Assembly Appropriations Committee.
California legislators appeared to be taking a sensible and pragmatic view of online poker in the state this week as the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee (AGOC) unanimously forwarded a proposal to study the issue thoroughly to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
AB 2026 calls for the California Gambling Control Commission and the Department of Justice to initiate and carry out a study into factors surrounding the authorisation of online poker in California, reports Cardplayer magazine. The results of the study would be presented to the California Legislature by June 30, 2009 if it is approved.
The Cardplayer report revealed that Democrat Assemblyman Lloyd Levine is the bill’s author (see previous InfoPowa report).
The AGOC hearing took testimony from bill proponents Poker Voters of America President Jim Tabilio and Rod Blonien, who represented the card rooms of Commerce Club, Hollywood Park, the Lucky Derby, the Lucky Lady, Garden City and Lucky Chances.
“Many of the clubs that I mentioned are maxed out on Friday and Saturday nights. We have more players than we have seats available,” Blonien said. “Many of those people go home and play online.”
He had some strong opinions on Internet poker, characterising the industry as an unregulated and dangerous place for American consumers. “There’s no place that a law abiding Californian can go (online) and play a level game,” he claimed. “What Californians really need is a government regulated and fair website where they could go to play Internet poker.”
Concerns regarding conflict with anti-online gambling federal law were addressed by the state’s Legislative Counsel on Levine's request, which concluded that California would be allowed to operate an intrastate card room even with the rules of the UIGEA and the decades-old Wire Act in place.
One group opposed to the AB 2026 was the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, a group that wants to decrease the number of gambling options California residents have.