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California Internet Gambling Bill Stalled

June 30, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – In the kind of development that’s become very familiar to the online gambling world, yet another attempt to regulate (and tax) Internet gambling has been defeated by opponents.

Once thought to hold a promising shot at approval, California Senator Rod Wright’s bill — the subject of a special hearing Tuesday by the Senate Government Organization Committee, which Wright heads — is now reported to be “stalled”.

The legislation, SB 1485, was written to allow California to sell licenses to, specifically, three firms, enabling them to offer online poker services to California residents, and then taxing the firms for at least 10 percent of the gross revenues earned in the gambling enterprises.

But Senator Wright now says he’s temporarily pulling the bill from consideration, to address claims from the groups opposing the bill. The most powerful and vocal of these groups has been the state’s Indian tribes, which had in recent weeks organized formal and powerful opposition, fearing revenue loss if the online poker market were to go to other companies.

The fact that Wright altered the legislation late last week to appease these groups doesn’t seem to have had any effect. Wright had “proposed a reduction in the minimum revenue-sharing percent in order to provide flexibility in considering competitive bids,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

Still, no dice; Wright admitted defeat after yesterday’s hearing. “This bill still needs a great deal of work,” Wright, a Democrat from the Los Angeles area, said during the hearing, per the San Jose Mercury News. “For every issue, there were people who liked it and people who hated it.”

“I’m convinced I’ll never get consensus,” Wright also said, according to the Ventura County Star.

“Despite his pessimism, he urged those in the gaming industry to continue trying to reach an accord,” the article adds.

According to the Star article, Wright issued a warning that, if lawmakers continue to drag their feet on the issue, they’ll “watch the business change into another format,” and risk losing even more money to offshore companies than what they fear losing because of his bill.