California online gaming bill moves forward

The government gears are grinding in California as AB 2026, a bill exploring whether the state could legally open an online gambling site for its residents, has made it over one more hurdle in the legislature.

On Tuesday the California Senate Assembly Governmental Organization Committee voted to pass the latest amended version of the bill and re-refer it to the Committee on Appropriations.

The bill has now been back and forth in committees a few times since its introduction in February by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine.

If passed, the bill would direct the California Gambling Control Commission to work with the state Department of Justice to determine whether online gambling for California residents would be illegal under federal laws.

What Levine wants to know is if the states have a right to legalize and regulate intrastate online gambling according to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.

When he introduced the bill, Levine told media that the UIGEA seems to leave room for states to legalize online gambling as long as the player and the server hosting the online poker or casino or betting are both located in the state. His bill will have the government find out if that is true.

If the bill is approved by the California legislature, the study it initiates could lead to the state setting up intrastate online poker and gambling for its residents.

Levine said in the past that the hope would be to have regulated online gambling in the state. He believes regulated online gambling in the state will ensure consumer protection for online gamblers.

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