Only a couple of days after next-door neighbor Nevada passed historic legislation okaying interstate gambling, California State Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) quickly submitted a new online gambling proposal. The online gambling bill would okay Internet poker in The Golden State, and is not the first time which Correa has proposed some type of online gambling for California’s residents and visitors. This new bill was filed one day after Nevada legalized interstate poker pacts with other US states, and is listed as SB678. While not yet allowing for interstate agreements, the proposal would allow online poker websites to be operated within California’s borders.
Nevada’s passage of online interstate poker legislation is the first such state-sponsored group of laws in the history of the United States, and was pushed through rapidly at the end of last week. Pro-poker Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey had the previous week just vetoed a proposal for similar legislation in that state. However, he said the New Jersey online gambling Bill needed only minor tweaking, and was passed just days ago. Nevada understood the rush to become one of the first to legalize, deliver and then manage online gambling in some form in the United States, as that would place them as a leader in the industry.
With Nevada’s rich history of brick-and-mortar poker rooms, and statewide acceptance of poker as a legalized form of responsible adult wagering, California has consistently attempted to agree on an online gambling proposal. And with Nevada’s rich history of brick-and-mortar casino management, and proximity to California, both states would definitely benefit by an interstate online poker agreement. But first California has to legalize online poker within state boundaries, and that is exactly what the proposed amendment to Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code will do if it is passed. This proposal would add Chapter 5.2 to that regulation, allowing for “Internet poker websites to be operated within California’s borders.”
Obviously, the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) would have to be involved in some way, and the Correa sponsored bill calls for them to create the regulatory framework for the exact licensing process of potential online poker hosts, as well as the ongoing operation of those companies within state boundaries. The CGCC is also called upon in this newest Internet poker legislation package to decide exactly what type of company can apply for licensing. The game of poker itself is a numbers game. There are only 4 suits, with 13 cards each, for a total of 52 cards. That is what makes some situations more attractive than others when you are playing poker and you look down at your cards.
The same is definitely true for California, who is the most attractive prize in the online gambling history of the United States. The state has roughly 38 million residents, with tourism playing a large part in further boosting the possible amount of online gamblers in California. Compare that to next-door neighbor Nevada with less than 3 million residents, and you can see who holds the upper hand when any negotiations begin to discuss interstate online gambling agreements. At this early stage there is no timetable for presentation to the house, or eventual passage by the state Governor.