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Reginald Jones-Sawyer to Lead California Online Poker Efforts

The soft looking puppy dog eyes that are mounted below the hairline of the U.S. poker community are looking adoringly at Assembly member Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr.

The baton has passed.

Jones-Sawyer has taken it from former Senator Lou Correa and it seems he is ready to run with it.

In a recent press release, Jones-Sawyer expressed his desire to author a new California online poker bill. The new bill will be submitted at the beginning of the 2015-16 legislative session.

The decision comes a fortnight after his previous bill (AB 2291) was shelved because, “the Department of Justice and the California Gaming Commission did not have enough time to review the language and make relevant recommendations on the regulatory structure of the bill.”

Sen. Correa made three attempts

The decision to place AB 2291 back into the filing cabinet came days after Senator Lou Correa gave up hope of gaining a two-thirds agreement for his online poker bill (SB 1366). It was the third time Correa had failed in his attempt to legalize real-money online poker in California, but according to Jones-Sawyer, his work will not be in vain.

There were only three weeks left in the legislative session when the two bills met mothballs, and with a full calendar ahead of him, you cannot believe there will not be some form of real-money online poker in California by the end of 2015.

Jones-Sawyer proceeded to outline the tremendous headway that has been made behind the scenes when he said, “Over the past seven months, we have seen tremendous progress regarding this issue. The California Native American Tribes, who have gaming compacts, and who presented language for AB 2291, are more united than ever before.”

The Assemblyman also went on to state that the California card clubs and the horse racing industry have also indicated their desire to get involved.

Participation of horsemen and bad actor clause still to be resolved

It’s the involvement of the horse racing industry, along with the inclusion of the ‘bad actor’ clause, that many believe to have been the sticking point in previous discussions.

One hopes that the acquisition of the Rational Group, by Amaya Gaming, and the decision by the Scheinberg family to jump ship, reduces the tension.

Jones-Sawyer was keen to express his gratitude to Senators Rod Wright and Lou Correa for the work they had done on previous efforts and said, “We have come a long way, but we have to be patient, so we can get this right. Setting a standard in California that will be an example for the entire nation is the ultimate goal.”



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Lee Davy

Life can be viewed as the sum of the parts or the parts themselves. I believe in the holistic view of life, or the sum. When dealing with individual parts you develop whack-a-mole syndrome; each time you clobber one problem with your hammer another one just pops up.