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According to a report on, AB 2863 may not come to a vote this week. This has some speculating that the bill will die an whether regulated online poker will experience any growth in the near future.

For years, many in the industry and various supporters of online poker have viewed California as the key to the future of iPoker regulation. While this many have been the case in the early days of regulation, recent developments have opened new channels to advance the cause.


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Original Narrative – California is “Make or Break” For U.S. iPoker

How many times have you heard that the future of online poker goes through the Golden State? Personally, I’ve heard this more times than I can count. In the early days of iPoker regulation, it was assumed that California is the lynchpin state for regulation.

If we can get California regulated, then other states will fall like dominoes. This made a lot of sense because California is the largest single market in the United States. If they have regulated online poker, then other states would see the value in partnering with the state and having an instantly viable iPoker network.

Should California choose not to regulate, most felt that this would prove to be the death knell to regulated iPoker and that states like Nevada would have no choice but to shut down because the chances of their every becoming more than an “intrastate” site would be slim and none.

New Narrative – California Still Important But Not the Online Poker’s Only Hope

Like Maverick’s pappy used to say “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” The original narrative had that type of mentality. Luckily, things have changed in a major way in the last couple of years and now online poker has moved on to Episode IV (A New Hope).

Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan are all viewed as states likely to regulate online poker. In fact, there’s a solid chance that Pennsylvania will get there this year. While not California, they are still the 6th largest state in terms of populations. Then there’s New York, the 4th largest state in terms of population. New York has made advances towards regulating iGaming and is likely just a year or two away from doing so.

Combined, Pennsylvania and New York have a combined population of over 32.5 million. California has a population of 38.8 million. There’s also something else that people are just now beginning to realize. PokerStars has very few impediments to entering both states. I’ve been one that has hyped a NJ-PA PokerStars partnership for a while now but other media members are starting to realize the same potential.

What happens if PokerStars in PA, NY and NJ partner together. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we get a market larger than California and available immediately – no ban required.

California is undoubtedly still a major factor in the future of U.S. iPoker regulation but they are not the only way to making the regulated market viable. So if you’re worried about the future of regulation, remain calm. There are other paths moving forward and we will get there. California just won’t be the “belle of the ball” anymore.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.