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D.C., California Propose New Online Poker Laws

In the wake of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s last-minute efforts to regulate online gambling on the federal level before the year is out, the state of California and the District of Columbia have announced their own plans to legalize Internet poker first.

Of course, this isn’t anything new, as far as California is concerned: The state has flirted with legalizing and regulating online poker for years.

California’s proposed new “measure would put a ‘licensed entity’ that already has a casino or card club in California in charge of an ‘intrastate Internet poker website,’” reports the Press-Enterprise. “Supporters .. called it a way to keep gambling revenue in-state, while protecting online poker enthusiasts from unscrupulous offshore gambling sites.”

There are already complaints about the monopoly such a system would create by giving just one organization power over the entire state Internet poker market.

“That opposition, and the threat of some Indian tribes to withhold payments to the state from slot machines if Internet poker is allowed, helped derail a similar measure introduced last legislative session by Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood),” explains the Los Angeles Times.

Washington, D.C.’s online gambling legalization efforts arrived last week, too, with a measure to legalize online poker and fantasy spofrts betting that was slipped into a much larger budget gap proposal.

“Introduced by at-large Democrat Michael A. Brown, the amendment would establish a private computer network run by the D.C. Lottery that would allow customers to play poker online as long as they were playing in the District,” reports the Washington Times.

Will these efforts finally succeed? It’s unlikely, but the panic of Harry Reid taking away the chance for states to cash in on their own online gambling networks is creating a sense of urgency for certain lawmakers — who seem to be getting better at creating online poker regulations that might actually work.