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California Online Poker Battle Turns Ugly

The battle for regulated California online poker has been going on for quite a while now but in recent weeks, that battle has started to turn ugly.

For starters, whispers in the halls of the California State Legislature are suggesting that the most current online poker bill, AB 431, is dead in the water.

According to a recent report in the Capitol Weekly, a Golden State political journal, a powerful lobbyist for the California Tribal Business Alliance, was quoted bad mouthing the bill’s chances for passage.

The lobbyist in question, lawyer David Quintana, has been telling other lobbyists and lawmakers that the Senate Government Organization Committee, “… will not be setting or hearing any internet poker bills this year.”

That all comes as news other lawmakers, but Quintana is standing by his story.

If true, the death of AB 431 would be something of an achievement because there’s really nothing in the bill. As of this writing, the bill is a mere shell that promotes the idea of regulated online poker, but offers absolutely nothing in the way of specifics.

Given the ferocity, and power, of the stakeholders in the California gambling industry (especially the tribal gaming interests) an empty bill isn’t such a bad idea. At the same time, that hasn’t stopped some tribes from launching a series of radio spots blasting certain players in the online poker industry.

The ads, according to, are sponsored by the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, and suggest that Californians, “…deserve to be protected from corrupt companies like PokerStars.”

In short, the California online battle has degenerated into politics as usual, and that’s a very bad thing.