California Bill Passes First Hurdle
By Staff
In America, a bill that would study the possibility of California operating its own online poker service moved a step closer to reality last week after passing its first hurdle.

California Bill AB 2026 would direct the California State Gambling Control Commission in partnership with the state’s Department of Justice to investigate the possibility of authorising Internet poker for residents in accordance with Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006, which stipulated that individual states could legalise and regulate intrastate online gambling.

Entitled The Gambling Control/California Intrastate Online Poker Act, the proposed legislation was introduced in February by local Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, the Chairman of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, and has now passed through the Assembly Governmental Organisation Committee.

“Our understanding of the law is that so long as the player and server hosting the online game are in California, it would be legal,” said Levine.

“But that’s what we are trying to find out.”

If the study is approved and shows that intrastate regulation is feasible, the Bill could evolve for intrastate poker legalisation to be put to a vote.

“It would be regulated,” said Levine.

“We don’t know what the state’s piece will be but it will be a regulated entity. If you’re gambling in California with one of these offshore sites and they just decide not to pay you, you’re out of luck. If you play legally, then there is recourse.”

The Bill will now make its way to the Assembly Appropriations Committee and could be presented to the California Legislature for a full vote early this month.

“It’s a study bill while we work out the details,” said Levine.

“But we might put some teeth into it if it looks like we can do this.”

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