The latest attempt – Bill AB 2863 by Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) – didn’t earn the necessary two-thirds vote in the state assembly. Therefore, the bill isn’t eligible to be voted on in the state legislature before the year closes.
The key issue remains the inability of Native American tribes, racetracks, and major online poker sites to come to an agreement. Some tribes, and the state’s three largest card rooms, have sided with PokerStars, saying that the world’s largest online poker site should be allowed in the California market.
According to the IB Times, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, and the Barona Band of Mission Indians have opposed PokerStars’ entry into California. But they finally threw their support behind Bill AB 2863 once Gray added a provision that would’ve kept Stars out for the first five years.
This wasn’t good enough for Stars and its allies, though, and competing interests once again failed to come to an agreement.
“AB 2863 met the same fate of past measures because opponents once again attempted to unconstitutionally limit competition by effectively barring one operator in perpetuity from the California marketplace,” said Morongo Tribal Chairman Robert Martin.
Gray, who’s also introduced a daily fantasy sports bill, isn’t happy about where all of this leaves California online poker.
“We can continue to endure the status quo,” says Gray. “where Internet gambling goes unregulated, untaxed and where no consumer protections exist, or we can try to bring some sense of order to the entire gambling industry in the state.”
Analysts believe that the California online poker market could realistically be worth $1 billion when it launches. Given the state’s population of over 37.6 million and rich economy, this could very well be true.
But it doesn’t look like we’ll get to find out any time soon because the bill has died out once again.