Changes Coming to California Online Poker Proposal

Mike GattoIt seems that every few weeks an individual state in the US decides to make a legislative move in regards to online poker or overall gambling. This could be to add legislation that would offer such gaming opportunities or legislation to stop gaming from taking place altogether. Across the United States, the options vary with online gaming and seem to be constantly changing all the time. In the state of California, a new piece of legislation was recently introduced that would allow for online poker to take place within the state but had several points that were not favorable to players or interested parties.

In the state of California, the subject of online poker gaming is a tough one. While invested parties want to see online poker taking place, every group has their own opinion as to how the gaming should be provided. Card rooms and Indian tribes want to be able to provide online gaming but do not want race tracks to be involved. Certain card rooms and tribes want to work with PokerStars, who would clearly be shut out due to bad actor clauses within legislation introduced in the past. Invested parties cannot seem to come to an agreement as to what the language within a bill should be so the option is far from becoming a reality.

Mike Gatto is an Assemblyman of California who introduced legislation just a few weeks ago that would allow for online poker to take place in the state. Gatto’s bill was subject to conflict from the beginning and because of this, the Assemblyman has now stated that proposed amendments are being created for the legislation. The changes will be the first set to take place for the proposed legislation.

One major change includes the proposed registration requirements. With the legislation, players interested in taking part in online poker will have to sign up at a gaming facility with the ability to provide registration. Players were to visit the facility to sign up and make a deposit. Now, the Assemblyman will make this type of registration an option rather than a strict requirement. This portion of the legislation received the most scrutiny after the bill was introduced. Gatto spoke with officials and players as well as invested parties of the industry to determine that this option was not as ideal as he once thought.

Also on the table is a provision that would create sanctions against any group that operates online poker within the state that is unauthorized. Anyone who illegally offers such options would be subject to felony charges. Additional resources would be added to the bill to allow the law to be enforced by the Attorney General.

A big concern among tribes, card rooms and racinos is the fact that certain groups would have the upper hand over others. Every group will need to have the opportunity to earn revenues equally without one group having the advantage over the other. This is why legislation has yet to pass within the state because those involved cannot seem to come to an agreement on the subject.

Gatto has stated he has a main goal of creating a sensible framework for the online poker industry in California. Gatto believes that this will involve consultation with every stakeholder. Gatto says he prides himself in listening and expects the process for online poker will continue throughout 2015.

It will be interesting to see if the changes made will bring every interested party to a cohesive agreement on what should take place with online poker gaming within the state. Only time will tell if players will be able to enjoy online poker within the state this year or if it will be much longer before legislation is passed within the state.