For more than a decade, California has been trying to pass an online poker bill without much progress. Despite trying to do it all, the state just has not been able to legalize online poker just yet. What’s more, in the year 2018, the development with the bill just hit a reset button, so in 2019, California is looking to link online poker with sports betting as a push. Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer had stated that in the coming year, he might not be reintroducing the legalization option for the bill. With this in mind, the question to be asked is, what can we expect in the coming year in terms of this bill and what is affecting its progress?
According to Jones-Sawyer, “sports wagering raises all tides”, so he is hoping that the bill will simply go through a different route rather than a more traditional one. He had first issued the AB 1677 back in 2017, in the hopes of legalizing online poker in the state. There is also hope that the US Supreme Court will make a decision regarding the federal sports betting law which might help in passing the bill for regulating online poker for California.
It is important to note that when the decision for passing the online poker bill was being discussed, everyone was open about their feelings on what their stance was for the passing of the bill. Even though it did not yield any long term results, the important thing was still that it was being discussed upon. Having an open meeting about legalizing online poker, which has been an issue for decades, is definitely a step towards progress, even though the bill has not seen the light of day yet.
What is more, pressing at the moment is the conflicts that have been seen in the tribes and courtrooms, which need to be resolved first before any decision regarding the regulation of online poker comes to fruition. Some tribal gaming communities in the state do not agree on how online poker should be legalized and regulated, and this conflict of interest need to prioritize as an interest before even thinking passing a bill for online poker.
One of the ways by which we could see a push for the legalization of online poker for California is through sports betting. Recently, the Supreme Court has overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA), which only allows a limited set of sports betting practices in all states, except in Nevada. In California, Assemblyman Gray has attempted to introduce another act, called the ACA, which proposes that the legislature will authorize sports betting if a change is seen in the federal law. Once that comes into effect, there is hoping that legalizing online poker won’t be that far behind.
Another reason why it is so hard to progress with this bill is because California is just too big of a state. It has a population nearing 40 million, which is three times larger than the combined population of all the states which has already legalized sports betting. When it started to think about the regulation of gambling over a decade ago, back in 2007, most other states were doing the same. However, now, California is falling behind. The one thing which could better the possibility of passing the bill correctly is to learn from the other states and see how they have been handling the legalization of gambling, online or otherwise. In that way, California can figure out the best way to get it done.
Before starting on a bookmaking bill, California definitely needs to amend its constitutional difficulties. In November 2018, Assemblyman Adam Gray had said that this issue needs to be put in the ballot, but he did not get a lot of support to back up the initiative of proposing the passing of a gambling bill. As of now, until November 2020, Californians will not be able to cast a vote concerning online poker. This puts California even farther behind than other states which have put the matter of online gambling to the forefront.
For now, it seems that all we can do is wait until that year because in 2019 it seems that no legislative action can be taken for online poker for now. However, as long as there are still discussions and awareness about it, sooner or later, some sort of result should be seen: online poker is definitely not a subject which can be swept under the rug so easily.