California bill could allow more high stakes poker games

When the California legislature comes back in session in August, they may be considering a bill that would allow more high stakes games in card rooms in the state.

State Senator Dean Florez sponsored the bill, Senate Bill 1198, that would allow local governments eliminate wagering limits in card rooms, giving gamblers a chance to bet as much as they want on Texas Hold'em and other card games. The bill has supporters including Attorney General bill Lockyer who said the legislation would give local governments more control over gaming.

Since California imposed a 1996 halt to card room expansion, limits on betting have also been pretty much frozen.

The bill is awaiting approval from the State Assembly after being cleared by the Senate on a 22-9 vote. It has met with mixed feeling both from the public and from the card rooms themselves. Anti-gambling groups are against the bill, which they believe will just lead to an increase in gambling. Some card rooms are also happy with the limits set and want to keep it that way.

What Florez is hoping to do with the bill is provide a uniformity to the way the state handles betting limits. Rather than having the state set a limit, local officials should be able to decide what is best for their area.

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