California Online Poker Bill Stalls Again, Taken Off Hearing Agenda

Adam Gray's AB 431 still in play.

The slow slog to legal online poker in California took another detour today with the removal of bill AB 167 from discussion at an Organizational Committee hearing.

Originally slated to be on the table for discussion at the Governmental Organizational Committee's hearing at 1:30 pm today the bill has now been removed.

Two still contentious issues regarding the shape of the California online poker market again seem to be at play in the delay - the participation of PokerStars and California racetracks.

Several tribes in California have repeatedly said AB 167 is unacceptable because of it threatens their compacts negotiated with the State to provide brick-and-mortar (and potential online) gambling.

No alternate date for consideration of the bill has been offered.

One of a Few Bills in Consideration

It's not all bad news for California poker players as AB 167, put forward by Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer is just one of a couple of online poker bills under consideration.

The Commerce Casino
Cali poker market a big one.

Bill AB 431, introduced by Gray in 2015, was unanimously advanced past the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee (GO) last year but has yet to reach the next stage.

The contentious issues remain the same, however, with the role of racetracks, Tribal gaming organizations and PokerStars still to be hashed out in a way that appeases most.

Because the revenue potential for the California online poker market is so big - estimates put it as worth up to $380m a year - it is likely only a matter of time before legislation gets passed, but the details will be time consuming.

If passed California would immediately become the biggest US online poker market.

A legal online poker market in California has been under consideration for at least 6 or 7 years with little progress.

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