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California Ready for Early 2016 Hearing on Online Poker, DFS Bills
The long-simmering plan for legalized online poker in California could get off to a good start in 2016 with a hearing planned for Wednesday, January 6.
Most importantly on the table is Bill AB 167, introduced in 2015 by Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer.
The bill, which would still need to be refined in detail and language, would finally allow California to license and regulate intrastate online poker and allow racetracks, Indian tribes and card rooms to run online poker sites.
Also being considered - notably under an "urgent" listing on the California State Assembly’s Committee on Governmental Organization website - are bills to regulate both sportsbetting and Daily Fantasy Sports.
California Could Pave Way for Big Online Poker Player Pool
Considered one of the most important states to initiate online poker legislation, due to its large population base and enthusiasm for poker, a push forward in California could portend big things for US online poker sites in 2016.
Pennsylvania and Massachusetts also put forward movements to legalize the game in 2015 which would substantially boost the collective US player pool.
Currently just Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware offer licensed online poker with 2015 not offering much in the way of player expansion.
Signs off life have been seen in New Jersey, however, with bigger turnouts for tournaments over the holidays and the expectation global poker goliath PokerStars will finally enter the market this summer.
Bill AB 167 also notably does not include a "bad actor" clause which would preclude PokerStars from entering the California market.
Last year PokerStars hit the road for an extensive "Let California Play" tour to help support the push for poker in California.
California's online poker market has been estimated to be worth about $400m per year. The new hearing is scheduled for 1:30 pm on Wednesday.