Although previous attempts at passing Senate Bill 51 have failed, its author is optimistic that this year will finally see the legalization of online poker in California. Senator Rod Wright (D) spoke at the recent NCLGS meeting in Las Vegas about his efforts that would ultimately reach beyond his state and impact internet gambling in the United States as a whole.
Despite prior defeats the Senator hopes to have sufficient support for the bill in 2013, as not only more and more stakeholders are interested in having American poker rooms legalized on the internet, but their understanding of the issues and possibilities is also improving.
Unsurprisingly, Senator Wright came down unequivocally on the side of states’ rights when it comes to the regulation of internet gambling. As he put it in an interview to Online Poker Report „the federal government should not be in the business of controlling or taking money out of the gambling revenues that are generated by the state.”
While arguing for state rights and interstate compacts, he also echoed the industry experts’ cautionary opinion voiced at the meeting, calling for a thorough understanding of technology and regulations. „I think you have to crawl before you walk and we have to master it locally, then create the state relationships, and then move on from there,” stated Wright.
Speaking of the advantages of California, Rod Wright highlighted that the state offered sufficient player liquidity pool to make the system work, but he also expressed his ultimate hope of „the game expanding on an international platform”. It is precisely the state’s broader liquidity pool, which the Senator believes will eventually put California in a very good position to initiate interstate sharing arrangements.
Senator Wright also made it very clear that tribal gambling interests would not be negatively impacted in the process. „The Class 2 games that are currently being played in California will be the only games allowed on the Internet platform as well, so it will not be a violation of exclusivity,” declared Wright. He expressed his conviction that tribes would be major players in the online business as well.
Senator Rod Wright’s legislative effort is one of several state-led inititives across the US that could see American gambling laws being changed without federal legislation.