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California Online Poker Advocate Resigns from Senate

California Senator Roderick Wright, the backer of two intrastate online poker bills in 2012, resigned from office after receiving a three-month sentence for perjury and voter fraud.

Wright’s resignation was accepted by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who happened to co-author one of the online poker bills that Wright attempted to push through the legislature two years ago. The resignation is effective Monday, Sept. 22, about 40 days before Wright is scheduled to surrender to authorities on Oct. 31 to serve out his sentence, the Daily Breeze reported.

The charges levied against Wright pertained to lying about where he resided. He was found to be living outside of Inglewood, the district he was elected to represent. Wright received a suspension of his Senate position with pay following his conviction in January.

Wright’s proposals included racetracks

Wright and Steinberg championed SB 1463 in February 2012, but the state’s gaming interests were not in agreement over the language of the bill. Wright tried again on his own with a proposal in December 2012, SB 51, that also failed to gain traction and never came up for a vote.

Both of the bills supported by Wright included the state’s horse racing industry as players in an ipoker regime. The two most recent online poker bills introduced by lawmakers in 2014, both of which were shelved last month, excluded horsemen from participation.

The latest reports out of California indicate that a bill being prepared for introduction in December for the 2015 legislative session will include racetracks. The horsemen are reportedly prepared to initiate a legal challenge should attempts to keep them out of any Internet poker scheme continue.

During his sentencing, Wright was told by Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy that he is ineligible to ever again hold public office. Though he was instrumental in laying some of the groundwork for the expected eventual approval of online poker in California, Wright will not be part of the celebration when regulation is enacted.

 

 

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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.

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