There has been a lot of talk about the ongoing quest to legalize online poker in California, with two bills having been introduced by lawmakers in the Golden State.
Officials have yet to make any decision on Internet poker’s legality, but one senior figure believes that changes will need to be made to the bills in order for real money online poker to be accepted. In an appearance at the iExpo summit over the weekend, Poker Players Alliance director John Pappas revealed that racecourses throughout the state will need to be included if there is any hope of either one of the bills finding favor.
Racetracks left out in the cold
At the moment, both bills have barred racetracks from opening online poker rooms if it was to be legalized, with only licensed Native American venues and a handful of casinos allowed to host the game of skill. Horsemen were specifically left out at the request of Native American tribes who feel that the increased competition in the sector could potentially disrupt the businesses of those backing both bills.
Having been excluded, many racetracks are currently quite bitter over the matter. Pappas stated that a representative for the racetracks at iExpo said that they would use whatever influence they have with state senators to help block the bills in their current form. Tribal figures appearing at the conference also stood their ground, with Pappas commenting that they felt it was “unacceptable” for racetracks to be included in the proposals.
Yet another setback
This issue is just the latest hurdle for the legalization of online poker in California following years of trying to get the game accepted in the state. There also continue to be major concerns over “bad actors” being included in the ipoker scheme. Tribes are loathe to allow participation from sites such as PokerStars that have been annointed with the bad actor label.
With the debate over the involvement of racetracks now coming to a boil, it seems that online poker will need to overcome yet more obstacles for it to become legalized within the country’s largest state.