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The online poker legislation proposedthis week by California Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer has received a thumbs up from the coalition that includes PokerStars.

Lacking a specific “bad actor” clause, as well as including the state’s horse racing industry,AB 167 is seemingly inclusive rather than exclusive, a departure from previous bills proposed over the past several years.

We applaud Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer for his thoughtful approach to iPoker legislation in California which takes into account many years of input from stakeholders on all sides,” said a statement issued by the PokerStars Coalition that includes the San Manuel and Morongo tribes, and the Commerce, Hawaiian Gardens and Bicycle cardrooms.

That coalition further stated that the particulars and fine print of the proposal are still being analyzed, presumably by attorneys who can wade through the legalese, but a first reading finds encouragement in the fact that AB 167 “will move the discussion of online poker forward in a positive direction.”

AB 167 = Good, AB 9 = Bad

The PokerStars group had no such flattery for a bill proposed last month by Assemblyman Mike Gatto that included a bad actor provision. AB 9 was denounced by the coalition as “a rehash of previously unsuccessful proposals.”

Gatto apparently met with coalition representatives following the introduction of that bill and eventually made amendments to his initial proposal, but removing the bad actor clause was not one of them. Racetracks were also left out of the mix of potential online poker operators in Gatto’s measure.

“Our coalition strongly believes that – in order to be successful passing iPoker legislation that brings much-needed protection to consumers in a currently unregulated market – the various interests need to work together,” the statement added. “It’s time to move on, and move forward. We are pleased to see that Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer recognizes this.”

It appears that California may be closer than ever before in appeasing all gaming interests involved. But certain parties may still oppose PokerStars’ inclusion. Stay tuned.


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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.