California Online Gambling Update – September, 2015

California online gambling is something of a unicorn for the American igaming market. It’s a market that’s every bit as promising, as it is elusive.

If established, regulated online gambling in the Golden State would seriously increase the size and stature of the US facing in a very positive way.

After all, California’s population of 38 million is slightly more than five times larger than that of New Jersey. In fact, California has about 27 million more residents than New Jersey and Nevada combined.

Unfortunately, California’s online gambling stakeholders – including powerful Indian gaming interests – have been completely unable to put together anything resembling a workable online gambling bill. But that hasn’t been for lack of trying.

Here’s an update on the latest developments in this complex, and frustrating, story out of the United States’ most populous state.

Sports Betting in California?

Is California getting ready to legalize sports betting? That one interpretation of AB 141, a measure that was recently introduced by Gaming Committee Chair and State Assemblyman Adam Gray.

Another, more accurate, interpretation is that California has no intention of legalizing sports betting, they’re just putting the framework in place for when  that day finally arrives. A quick read of the bill reveals that it allows for regulated Golden State sports betting, so long as it’s legal at the Federal level.

If the Feds do legalize sports wagering, Californians over the age of 21 will be able to place action at casinos, racetracks and tribal casinos.

Cali Online Poker Dead (For Now)

Despite a tremendous amount of lobbying and drama, the three stakeholders that could potentially offer sports betting have been unable to come to a compromise on something that’s already legal – online poker.

That inability to come to some sort of arrangement, along with the lawmakers’ failure to force a bargain, have left California’s online poker dreams in the dust.

With the closing of the most current legislative session on Friday, September 11, any hope California has of entering the regulated igaming market has been put off for another year.

At the heart of the delay is an effort, led by tribal gaming interests, to limit online gaming in the state to currently licensed casinos. That’s a great deal for currently licensed casinos, but a lousy deal for pretty much everyone else.

So until the gavel falls on the next legislative session, that’s the current state of California online gambling.