After passing through the Senate Governmental Organization Committee last month, a proposal that would establish legalised online poker for California is now destined for the Senate Appropriations Committee next month.
The bill, AB2026, is also known as the California Gambling Control/Intrastate Online Poker Legalization Act and, if passed, could become law as soon as July of next year after receiving subsequent approval from a full Senate vote. This would see California make history as the first state to regulate and legalise intrastate online poker for its residents.
Introduced in February, it was originally designed to commission a full study into the feasibility of online poker for the state. However, it has since changed after extensive debate and discussion among Californian legislators and now calls for implementing online poker legislation and regulation within the state.
AB2026 was borne from provisions in 2006’s Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) Federal legislation that allows for in-state poker if certain conditions are met. The bill meets these guidelines and was quickly shepherded through the Assembly before coming before the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.
'We hope to have this bill passed through the legislature by the end of August and signed into law in the fall,' said Anthony ‘Tuff Fish’ Sandstrom, a professional poker player and California resident.
Sandstrom earlier began a petition calling for State-run online poker for residents but later withdrew his application despite having the measure approved by the California Secretary of State and scheduled for last February’s ballot.
'My hope is that it would go into effect in January of next year. We would then have the Division of Gaming Control and the Attorney General's office spend whatever brief period of time they would need to draft the appropriate regulations and hopefully sometime in the middle of next year we could actually have legal poker online in California.'