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california egaming/Poker delayed until 2012

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Staff member
Jan 14, 2008
In a letter yesterday to potential stakeholders including card rooms, tribes and racetracks, also signed by Senate Governmental Organization Committee chair Rod Wright, Steinberg wrote: “We believe the concept of bringing intrastate internet gaming to California has merit and is worth pursuing in a smart, methodical way”.

However, despite many hearings and hours of testimony around the issue, said Steinberg, “ignificant, unresolved issues remain, including tribal exclusivity and waiver of sovereignty immunity, the types of games that would be authorized, and who would be eligible to apply for licenses and potential federal constitutional questions.”

As he did not believe that “well thought out, fair solutions to these differences” could be reached by the end of the legislative year on September 9, Steinberg informed stakeholders that an “objective proposal” would instead be developed in time for consideration by the legislature when it reconvenes in 2012.

A hearing will be held by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee in January next year for the express purpose of moving a bill through the Committee, said Steinberg.

The California legislature is currently considering two bills which would authorise internet gaming in the state. The first, introduced by Committee Chair Rod Wright, would authorise all forms of gaming, while Senator Lou Correa is pushing a poker-only bill which is backed by the California online poker Association (COPA), a coalition of gaming tribes and card clubs led by the Morongo and San Manuel bands of Mission Indians.

COPA, which in June announced a deal with SciPlay/Playtech to provide it with a poker platform, has been airing TV and radio adverts in support of Correa’s bill, urging listeners to tell the politicians in Sacramento to authorise online poker.

“Unfortunately, nurses, police, fire and services for the poor and disabled will all be cut again if California doesn't find US$4bn in new revenue by December,” one radio ad said. “There is a solution. By approving online poker, California has the ability to tap US$250m in new money immediately and billions in years to come.”