Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys, has introduced a bill in California that will study the legality of intrastate online poker in California. The bill is designed to evaluate the potential for California to establish and regulate online poker within the state while still being within the legal bounds of the UIGEA. "Our understanding of the law is that so long as the player and server (hosting the online game) are in California, it would be legal," said Levine. "But that's what we are trying to find out."
If bill AB2026 passes and an intrastate framework for online poker is deemed legal, it could open the door for not only California, but other states and Indian sovereignties as well. Whether potential California operators would come from B&M card room operators, the state itself, or existing online operators willing to set-up a California-only infrastructure is unknown. Levine cares less about the potential make-up of a resulting industry and more about the feasibility of the state to allow online poker within a legal and regulated framework. "It would be regulated," said Levine. "We don't know what the state's piece will be, but it will be a regulated entity."
The bill is being sponsored by a group called the Poker Players of America (PPOA). The PPOA's website identifies the organization's founders only as "experienced political professionals who also play poker." The domain name's web administer is listed as Nancy Todd, a political consultant and president of Nancy Todd, Inc., an international strategic consulting firm based in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While poker players across the state may be bolstered by this development, probably none so much as Anthony Sandstrom, a.k.a. Tuff Fish. Over the years, Sandstrom has single-handedly attempted to pass initiatives that would establish a legal framework for online poker in California. While Sandstrom is known for suffering brutal poker suckouts, prominently featured in his self-deprecatingly funny YouTube videos, he might finally see a winning hand when it comes to a regulated online poker industry in California.