California iPoker Bill off the Table for 2014

State Senator Joe Correa shelves one of California’s two Internet gambling bills.

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California iPoker Bill off the Table for 2014State Senator Joe Correa shelves one of California’s two Internet gambling bills.

Just a few months ago, California seemed relatively well positioned to enact an iGaming bill by the end of the current legislative session, but infighting among the state’s tribes and other obstacles have set its dream of legalizing online poker in 2014 up in smoke.

On Wednesday, State Senator and author of SB 1366 Lou Correa decided to withdraw his bill, citing the unlikelihood of a vote being held this year and the need for revision as his primary motivators. All hope is not lost however, as a complementary bill proposed by Assemblyman Reginald Jones is still pending. But since its introduction earlier this year, movement on Jones’s bill has been minimal, leading most to believe that it too will die on the committee floor.

The last day for houses to pass bill is August 31st, after which its members will break for recess.

Ever since the Morongo Band of Mission Indians announced that they have partnered with PokerStars and three of California’s most prominent card rooms, the tribe has fought vehemently against the inclusion of “bad actor” language that would exclude the industry leading PokerStars from participating in any iGaming rollout. Although other issues, such as the role of horse racing facilitates in the industry and debates over licensing fees, have provided additional challenges, it’s the “bad actor” clause that initially led most industry experts to alter their timelines for California’s entry into the regulated iPoker market.

Shortly after the Morongo made its intentions known, 13 of the state’s tribes would come to agreement on the terms of a bill, but that was seen by the community more as an attempt to oppose the Morongo than it was to push through legislation.

Unfortunately, Joe Correa will not be returning in 2015 to amend his proposal, as his term in the Senate will have ended, but many still believe that California is still on the fast track to regulated poker – it just might take more time than originally envisioned.