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Legislative Update: California Online Poker

The California online poker battle is heating up with two separate online gambling bills introduced in the State House; and big news from a powerful gaming supporter.

With so much action going on, California’s political scene is getting as exciting as the final hands of the WSOP. Here’s an update on what could be the igaming world’s next, big US market.

Two New Bills, Both Alike in Mystery

Earlier this week lawmakers introduced two online gambling bills, one in the Senate and one in the Assembly, for consideration later in this year’s session.

According to, SB 278 and AB 431 from Sen. Isadore Hall III and Assemblyman Adam Gray are alike both in content, and mystery.

The two lawmakers introduced their bills in a placeholder status with little in the way of details ahead of the legislative deadline later this month. It’s expected that the actual text of the legislation will be added within a week or two.

What is know, however, is that both men wield a fair amount of clout when it comes to potentially opening regulated online gambling to California’s more than 38 million residents. Gray and Hall both sit on the committee that will ultimately vote to move on any gambling legislation one way or the other.

But before you go off buying, be aware that this is the third time these two have tried to pass online gambling bills.

Caesars is Cool with Bad Actors

California’s other big news came when Caesars Entertainment dropped its long-held opposition to allowing bad actors into the market. In this case, the only bad actor who matters at all is PokerStars.

PokerStars’ new corporate owners, Amaya Gaming, has worked hard to rehab the company’s image and that effort has clearly struck a chord with Caesars.

Caesars, however, is not the only major player who matters in this battle.

The real power players in this battle are California Indian tribes, especially Pachunga and Agua bands. Most Golden State political watchers agree that unless the new bills pass muster with the big two, they won’t be going anywhere.

While the future of California online poker is under the microscope this week, it’s still anything but certain.