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California's New Online Gambling Bill Bad News for Affiliates?

May 31, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – In California, a bill that would effectively legalize online gambling — although reportedly setting up some pretty strict regulations in the process — will be introduced this week.

Legislators and legal observers expect the bill to be brought into the California state legislature “within days from a key state lawmaker,” writes Jim Miller at the Press-Enterprise, a Southern California newspaper.

That “key state lawmaker” is state Senator Rod Wright, “who leads the Senate committee that oversees gambling”, and who has already authored the legislation that “would make California the first state in the country to legalize online poker”.

The bill is significantly different than last year’s efforts from California tribes to get online poker legalized, according to the article. Wright’s bill would let allow California’s Department of Justice to award contracts of five years to three online gambling operators (who must be based in California) to run online poker websites. Of course, those operators would have to successfully meet a series of legal and financial requirements.

The part of the bill that specifies that only California-based operators would be allowed to offer online poker services in the state may be a bad omen for the online gambling affiliate marketing world, which relies heavily on international brands to promote. “Wright’s bill would make it a crime for California residents to play non-California sites,” the Press-Enterprise article specifies. Would that shut online poker affiliates out of the biggest poker market in the United States?

The bill is expected to be formally introduced tomorrow.