California Online Poker Bill AB 431 Passes Committee

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By John Mehaffey

For the first time in history, an online poker bill has left committee in California. The California Assembly Governmental Organization Committee unanimously passed AB 431 on Monday. Assemblyman Adam Gray is the sponsor of AB 431, which essentially was a shell going into Monday’s committee hearing. Assemblyman Gray is also chairman of the Assembly Governmental […]

Live Reporting Of California Online Poker Hearing April 27

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A continuous update of the April 27 online gambling hearing in CA to discuss AB 431, a shell bill to regulate Internet poker in the state of California.

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    California online poker: Background

    2015

    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.

    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 tax rate and who is eligible for licensure as an online poker operator.

    2014

    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.

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    There will be a hearing on April 27, 2015 where California legislators will vote on California Online Poker Bill AB431. It’s important to let them know before the vote that you support legal online poker in California. Sign, Tweet, Share #AllinCA.

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