The push for California iPoker legislation has been stronger than ever this year. Unfortunately, just like every other year since 2008, infighting between political powerhouses with a vested interest in the future market has yet to diminish. Now, according to a tribal lobbyist, the issue of authorizing online poker in the Golden State is dead in 2015.
David Quintana is the Political Director for the California Tribal Business Alliance. According to the tribal lobbyist, he has spoken directly with Senator Isadore Hall, Chairman of the Senate Governmental Organizations (GO) Committee, who Quintana says has no intention of pursuing any California iPoker legislation this year.
In a statement to one of the state’s primary political media publications, Capitol Weekly, Quintana reported that Sen. Hall, “will not be setting or hearing any internet poker bills this year.”
The CTBA Political Director is just one of several individuals who spoke to Sen. Hall last week regarding the issue of California iPoker legislation, according to Capitol Weekly. Another source, who asked not to be named, said, “Online poker is dead. There was no momentum. He’s not going to hear the bills.”
Neither Senator Hall, or his office, has yet to offer any comment on the matter.
Is California iPoker Really Dead in 2015?
Not according to previous statements from Assemblyman Adam Gray, who is seated adjacent to Sen. Hall as the Chairman of the Assembly GO Committee. Gray is the legislator who introduced California iPoker bill AB 431 earlier this year.
The role of the Assembly is to review propositions, passing on those they approve to the Senate GO Committee. Following that protocol, Gray’s AB 431 was unanimously approved by the Assembly for which he Chairs, and subsequently passed on to the Hall-Chaired Senate GO Committee.
“This issue is alive – very much so,” said Gray in a recent statement, who has no intentions of giving up on California iPoker legislation in the current session.
“This is a two-thirds vote bill and we can take it up any time we want,” explained Gray. He went on to say that his bill is still the topic of negotiations among state legislators.
“We’re in the process of holding stakeholder meetings,” said Gray. “Do we want to establish a framework for internet poker or do we want to do nothing? Those are the only two choices.”
AB 431 is just one of four California iPoker bills currently in circulation, but it is by the far only one with significant potential to progress in the Capitol. Since 2008, an internet gaming bill of some type has been introduced every year, but Gray’s AB 431 is the only measure to have ever moved far enough to go to a vote.
Unfortunately, political factions on all sides have failed to compromise on the most pressing issues surrounding the authorization of online poker in the Golden State.
One powerful 7-tribe strong organization, the Pechanga Coalition, will not support any legislation that permits horse race tracks to participate in a future California iPoker market. They would also like to see PokerStars deemed unsuitable for licensure.
Another faction, the PokerStars Coalition, made up of Amaya Gaming, two powerful tribes and the state’s three largest commercial card rooms, doesn’t care whether horse tracks are involved, so long as PokerStars isn’t deemed a “bad actor” with “tainted assists”.
The horse racing industry is, of course, opposed to any legislation that prevents them from participating.
And among them all, every faction is confident that, without the political sway of their support, no California iPoker bill will ever succeed.