Online Gaming Bill Introduced in California

by Lou on February 25, 2012

State senate leader Darrell Steinberg co-authored a bill Friday that would allow Californians to gamble on poker and other games on state-sanctioned Internet sites.  Steinberg’s leadership position in the California senate gives added momentum to the proposed legislation.

Upon becoming law, firms could apply to the state Department of Justice for 10-year licenses, although they would have to ante up $30 million in fees for each website.

Steinberg joined Sen. Roderick Wright in introducing SB 1463 on the last day for legislation to be proposed for this year.

This bill sets standards and regulations and provides consumer protection, and Steinberg believes it would bring hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to the state.

A coalition of card clubs and Indian casinos has been trying to get Internet poker legalized in the state for years, but previous bills by Wright stalled in the Legislature after other tribes objected that websites would hurt their casinos.

Tribal support is critical to passing any gaming legislation, and because tribes are major donors to California political campaigns, elected officials are reluctant to take action if the tribes are not unified in their support of online gaming.

But add California back into the mix of state actively pursuing online gaming.  The group is growing, and now includes Nevada, California, Iowa, New Jersey, Mississippi, and a few others that have begun to dip their toes into the water.

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