California Online Poker Stakeholders Continue To Choose Nothing Over Something

CA online poker stakeholders still dug in
By Steve Ruddock

May 20, 2016

California Assemblyman Adam Gray brokered a $60 million compromise between horseracing interests and online poker stakeholders. But new issues have emerged.

Former California Gaming Regulator Admits Wrongdoing; Forfeits License And Faces Fine

By Steve Ruddock

May 16, 2016

A former California gaming regulator admitted wrongdoing in a case in which he was accused of gaining investigative information to help two casino clients.

Hawaiian Gardens Becomes The Gardens Casino – “A New Casino With Real Walls”

By Steve Ruddock

May 12, 2016

After years in a temporary dome structure, the California card room formerly known as Hawaiian Gardens is nearly finished with a massive new edifice.

Featured California Online Poker Stories

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    By John Mehaffey

    AB 2863 Online Poker Bill

    Introduced by Adam Gray (who chairs the Assembly GO Committee) and Reggie Jones-Sawyer , AB 2683 is the first bill introduced in the 2016 legislative year to legalize online poker in California.

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    By Steve Ruddock

    California AG Reviewing Player-Banked Card Games

    California card rooms have long been offering games like blackjack and pai gow poker by letting players bank the games, a practice under review by the AG.

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    By Steve Ruddock

    Did California Overcome Key Horse Racing Hurdle?

    A major obstacle in the path of ongoing efforts to regulate online poker in the state of California – the horseracing industry – may well be crumbling.

  • is your source for news and information on California legislation that would legalize online poker for California residents.

    California online poker: Background


    In many ways, 2015 is similar to the story of 2014, with the notable difference that political attention to the issue of online poker began earlier in the year and appears to have greater force behind it.

    There are currently two primary competing visions for online poker in California – AB 9 and AB 167 – both of which sit with the Governmental Organization Committee in the Assembly.

    There is an additional legislative vehicle for online poker in the Assembly: AB 431, sponsored by Assemblyman Adam Gray and co-authored by State Sen. Isadore Hall. AB 431 is currently a “shell” bill, meaning it contains little in the way of actual details or language.

    You can read more about and track each bill using California’s online legislative information system.

    As in past years, the key divisions revolve around who is eligible for licensure as an online poker operator.


    In February 2014, two online poker bills were announced.  SB 1366 would allow online poker only.  It included a bad actor clause that would forbid any company from operating in the state if it took action from U.S. players after December 31, 2006.

    AB 2291 was a similar bill.  One difference is that the bad actor clause was left open for future debate.

    On April 23, 2014, the California Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization held a hearing to discuss online poker.  Topics included the history of online poker in the U.S., testimony from executives involved in the regulated industry, as well as views from tribal and commercial gaming companies.

    The hearing appeared to be a positive for the online poker industry.  One opponent of gambling in general was cut off from his speech.  Andy Abboud, VP of Government Affairs for Las Vegas Sands, had his company’s motives questioned by the committee.  All members of the committee that spoke appeared to be educated about the online poker industry.

    Prior to 2014

    Online poker has been an issue in California for nearly a decade at this point. The state has seen numerous bills prior to the handful currently circulating in Sacramento.

    Six bills in the past had been introduced but failed to pass in the California Legislature.  Those bills were the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2013, SB 51, SB 678, SB 1463, SB 40 and SB 45. These bills would have  legalized, regulated and taxed online poker in California.

    Is online poker legal in California? Read more about that complex question in this feature article.