The California legislature is scheduled to break for four weeks on Friday as the summer recess commences on July 6, which will give the sponsors of the state's online poker bill time to evaluate several suggested amendments made by the gaming interests involved.
A major overhaul of changes is not expected, as Sen. Roderick Wright has already gone pretty far to appease the interest groups. For instance, amendments to the original bill were made in an "attempt to pacify brick and mortar casinos by limiting online gaming to poker only," according to Harsh Parikh, a Snell & Wilmer, LLP, gaming attorney based in Costa Mesa, California, who monitors progress on the bill for various financial stakeholders and worldwide gaming companies.
Although the Senate and various committees will adjourn for a month, Wright and co-sponsor Sen. Darrell Steinberg are planning to meet with certain tribal interests, cardrooms, and horse racing honchos during the recess in hopes that those opposing particular provisions in the measure will reassess their stances on the matter. Some of the issues holding up progress on the bill are various tribal factions who can't seem to agree if online poker will or will not hurt the revenues seen from land-based casinos. Also, cardrooms and tribes feel that horse racing interests should have no stake in the online poker business, as they currently do not offer live poker.
"Some tribes believe they have exclusive right to online gaming," Parikh said. "Most scholars and lawyers on the topic disagree." Wright is hesitant about making wholesale changes to the current bill that may favor one interest group over another, as it is crucial to maintain a balance among gaming interests to "maximize competition in the online gaming market," Parikh added.
In mid-June, Sen. Wright pulled SB1463 from a Senate committee agenda before it could be voted on because it was obvious that the measure would not muster enough votes to pass. By diligently using the recess time to iron out some of the problems involved in pleasing all of the Golden State's gaming interests, Wright hopes that passage of the bill will have a much favorable outlook when the Senate and committees resume on Aug. 6. The final date to enact SB1463 as law is Aug. 31. Failure to do so in that time frame will send the bill back to the drawing board in 2013.