For the last seven years, California has debated the need for online poker regulation. Bill after bill was introduced, but none succeeded far enough to even receive a vote. It’s now apparent that legislatures are at least taking the issue more seriously as they’ve scheduled a series of four hearings over the next three months to discuss the topic of online poker regulation and two of the bills currently on the table.
5-22-15 ASM GO: Gray’s Internet Poker Bill AB 431
The first hearing will take place tomorrow, April 22, at 1:30pm, wherein the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization (ASM GO), chaired by Assemblyman Adam Gray, will discuss his very own bill for online poker regulation, AB 431.
Gray’s bill offers very little in the way of a designated framework to regulate online poker, and was not submitted as an urgency clause; akin to a retail shelf yet to be labeled for stock. Therefore it will take expert testimony and deep discussion by the committee to fill in the blanks and determine whether it’s worthy of pushing forward. AB 431 must be heard and reported before May 1 in order to sustain active status throughout the legislative session.
5-20-15 Joint ASM/SEN GO: Overview of Gambling in California…
Next up is an informational hearing that will take place on May 20 at 1:30pm. Slated as a Joint Assembly / Senate GO meeting, the hearing has been labeled, “Overview of Gambling in California – Legality, Authorization and Regulation”.
Although the title encompasses a much broader range of topics, online poker regulation is expected to be one of the heaviest among them; in particular, the potential eligibility of horse racing tracks to take part in a regulated interne poker market. Because it is an informational hearing, there will be no vote taking place.
6-24-15 Joint ASM/SEN GO: The Legality of Online Poker…
On June 24 at 1:30pm, the Joint Assembly / Senate GO Committee will gather for another informational hearing entitled, “The Legality of Online Poker – How Prepared is California to Regulate It?”
This hearing should be of supreme importance as it will lay the groundwork for prerequisites among all who intend to be involved in the future of online poker regulation. In particular, we’ll find out just how cohesiveness the opinions of all stakeholders really are. Again, there will be no vote held at this hearing.
7-8-15 ASM GO: Internet Poker Bills AB 9 (Gatto), AB 167 (Jones-Sawyer)
A window into the future of online poker regulation in California should emerge from this hearing, scheduled for the Assembly GO Committee on July 8 at 1:30pm. Legislators will discuss two bills related to “Gambling: Internet poker: unlawful gambling”; Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s AB 9 and Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s AB 167.
This hearing will not take place for three months, and much could transpire between now and then. By the time the GO committee comes together in July, there should be a clear picture of the landscape for online poker regulation in California. And by then, the two bills on the docket may be greatly revised, with more (or fewer) measures outlined for discussion.
One way or another, the outcome of this hearing – which is expected to go to vote – could determine the fate of online poker regulation in California.