On Friday, California Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) introduced a bill that would allow online poker to be played within the state.
The Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2012, also known as SB 1463, seeks to generate "hundreds of millions of dollars" for the state in the fiscal year 2012-13. California is facing one of its most concerning budgetary crises in its history, and many state politicians have looked to online gaming to help get the budget under control.
Upon becoming a law, operators will be able to apply for a 10-year license once the regulatory framework is in place. If approved, operators will pay licensing fees of $30 million, credited against gross gaming revenue proceeds for the first three years of operation.
The bill states that only online poker would be permitted for the first two years of regulation. "After that two-year period, the department may phase in other games allowed under the California Constitution and the Penal Code," the bill states.
Wright has failed in previous attempts to push an online poker bill through the legislature, but recent changes in the Department of Justice's stance toward online gambling help could make this effort more successful.
One roadblock, however, could be the divided tribal casino community in California. Some tribes are open to an online gambling platform, but others fear they won't be able to compete in the market with the giants in the industry. Tribes contribute hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and gaming compacts to the state and make major donations to political campaigns. Politicians could think twice about moving forward with online gaming if the tribal community is not in full support of the bill.
Stay tuned to PokerNews as we bring you more on California's efforts to legalize online poker.