Gambling News

Three Online Gambling Bills to Be Considered in California in January

- January 4, 2016 By Oliver Young -

California sign

The bill to legalize online poker will be much debated

While everybody is trying to get back on track after the festive holiday season, lawmakers in California are back to work and considering not one but three online gambling bills at an early January hearing.

The Government Oversight Committee in California is going to consider three bills that propose the legalization of the online sport betting, daily fantasy sports and Internet poker in the US state. The hearing is scheduled on January 6, 2016.

About the Online Daily Fantasy Sports and Sports Betting Bills

Adam Gray, the assembly committee chairman, proposed the Internet Fantasy Sports Game Protection Act (bill AB1437) back in September 2015. After it passed the informational hearing in December 2015 the bill is going to be discussed again on January 6. The AB1437 is comprised of provisions to license, regulate and tax the industry. Currently there is little opposition to this bill. The view of Kamala Harris, the Attorney General in California, will be very important to hear.

Gray’s second bill on online sports betting, bill AB1441 which was introduced in September last year, is also on the agenda. It addresses the gambling sector that has been already debatable in New Jersey, namely the licensing and regulation of online sports betting. This bill needs to get around the national Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) that restricts betting on sports on the Internet to only four US states.

Backed by the Department of Justice, the sports leagues stand behind PASPA and oppose US states from opting in for regulated online sports betting within their borders. The bill AB1441 includes sections that call for both state constitutional and federal permission.

The Online Poker Bill Is Perhaps the Most Controversial

It appears that the most controversial bill in the January hearing will be the bill to license and regulate online poker in California. Over the years this subject has been much debated by parities such as online operators, racetracks, card-rooms and tribal groups and so far no consensus has been made.

Despite the fact that it successfully passed the GO Committee stage, bill AB431 by Gray was doomed to fail. However, the front runner of the legalization of online poker in California, Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, introduced AB167. With this new draft the Assemblyman hopes to bring agreement on two big problems that were discussed in the previous attempts- the bad actor and the clauses of racetrack participation.

The bill AB167 removes both problem areas and it might get the approval of the tribal alliance and Pokerstars as well as the powerful racetrack lobby, but other influential tribal groups might oppose it considering the bill restrictive and anti competitive. Therefore, it is going to be interesting to see what will come out.



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