The dream of regulated California online poker inched closer to becoming reality after AB-431 passed a key committee on its way towards a vote by the General Assembly.
While AB-431’s movement from the Government Organizational Committee to a series of scheduled hearings is an extremely significant step – it’s the first time any Golden State online poker bill has made it out of committee – the bill still has a long way to go before becoming a law. Before proceeding to a vote, the bill will be subjected to a series of hearings beginning on May 20 and finishing up on July 8.
As for what AB-431 says that previous California online poker bills didn’t remains something of a mystery, as the official text of the Bill has yet to be filed. What we do know, however, is that AB-431 did manage to garner something close to approval from the powerful Pechanga Indian band.
The Pechanga’s, along with other tribal gaming interests, have managed to tank previous poker bills. The Indians unconditionally oppose any bill that allows California horse racing tracks to offer online poker.
While no one knows for certain what’s in AB-431, something happened late Friday night, according to CalvinAyre.com, the Pechungas officially changed their stance on the bill from “negative” to “neutral.” Garnering support from California’s powerful Indian casino interests is, in itself, as significant as any other part of this story.
Though legal California online poker is still a long way from becoming reality, this latest news from the Sacramento State House is an encouraging sign of progress.