With Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware going down the road of legalizing intrastate online poker and the possibility of interstate compacts not too far down the road, a fresh legislative proposal is aiming to legalize online poker sites in the US state of California.
State Senator Lou Correa (D) has been a legalization proponent and even submitted a very detailed bill in 2011, just after the federal government had made it clear that American gambling laws did not prohibit online poker.
It was precisely the detailed nature of the 2011 bill, however, that led to a lot of opposition and wrangling from various stakeholders, including traditional casinos, tribal casinos, poker rooms and overseas online operators.
This time Sen. Correa has decided to submit a very short proposal (77 words) – essentially a yes or no vote on the idea of allowing the Golden State to join the pack. His bill would simply mandate the California Gambling Control Commission with the development of a necessary framework of rules and regulations.
The pros and cons of this tactical change are clear: it should be much easier to have the bill pass, while indeed making the regulatory development work afterwards a longer process. The vote, however, would not be burdened with so many special interest considerations, but could be turned into a case for greater revenues for the state budget and more jobs for Californians.
Sen. Correa has stated that online poker could create up to 1,300 jobs and generate USD 1.4 billion in revenue. California would also be in a very desirable negotiating position for favorable interstate compacts, since its huge population would put to rest any player liquidity concerns. At the same time it is one of the very few states that could also make online poker viable without such compacts.
The proposal (SB-678) comes at a time when fellow Democratic Senator Roderick Wright has also expressed his desire to renew his fight for legalization. The common trait in both proposals is the limitation of online gambling to poker at the exclusion of other American internet casino games.