Online poker regulation in California appears destined for failure this year after Senator Lou Correa made the decision to withdraw his online poker bill (SB 1366) from consideration for the remainder of the 2014 legislative session.
The Los Angeles Times broke the news that Correa withdrew his little baby because he doesn’t believe there is enough time left to refine it in readiness for a vote. As a result, Californians will likely not be joining Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey as the fourth state to incorporate a legalized iGaming framework this side of 2014.
Correa is not only the author of one of two online poker bills to emerge within the state, but he also heads the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, who are responsible for giving these sorts of gambling measures the taste test.
Setback for Online Poker
The news is a major setback, not only in California, but also the entire poker community in general. This is Correa’s third bill in three years, so you can’t fault the man for trying, but it certainly sounds the death knell for a fourth state joining the online poker fray in 2014. That’s a bitter disappointment after Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey emerged as the pioneers back in 2013.
It seems the problem is one of democracy. Correa knows that in order for his bill to pass it has to be approved by all parties, and when you consider that California is bigger than most countries, and has the eighth largest economy in the world, there are a lot of people to please.
Sticking Points Remain
The two main sticking points seem to be gaining the approval of the Indian tribes as well as a general debate over the inclusion of a ‘Bad Actor’ clause in Correa’s legislation. California is home to 108 Indian tribes and 88 of them have gaming interests. Now that’s a lot of ducks to line up in a row.
With SB 1366 back in the dusty draw, that leaves Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer Sr.’s AB 2291 as the one remaining hope. But it isn’t much of a hope as the bill hasn’t moved through the committee process and no hearing date has been set.
That leaves Californian poker enthusiasts with only one glimmer of light if they want to play real money online poker this side of 2014. The Lipay Nation of Santa Ysabel declared their intention to move forward with their plans to introduce real money games on PrivateTable.com, irrespective of the beating hearts of SB 1366 and AB 2291. At the moment, the site is still only offering play money action.