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Latest Online Poker Bill in California Introduced; Tribes Supportive

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  • Is online poker coming to California soon? Progress is being made.

The battle to get online poker legalized in the most populous state in the U.S. continues with AB 2863, Assemblyman Adam Gray's latest effort in California.

The bill, which can be viewed in full here, was introduced Feb. 19 and calls for up to $60 million a year in online poker revenues to be shipped to California's horse racing industry. The tracks have been a major source of contention in the long, drawn out attempts to pass online poker legislation in the state. The proposed bill would give the tracks a cut of the money rather than a license to operate online poker rooms. Initial reactions coming from the tracks about the subsidies indicate they may be amenable to a figure in this ballpark.

Another key party in the ongoing legislation slog is the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands. On Tuesday, CNIGA Chairman Steve Stallings voiced support for the bill in Indian Country Today.

"We are supportive of Assemblyman Adam Gray’s efforts to allow gaming Tribes the option to adapt to the changing technology," he said. “CNIGA looks forward to working with the legislature to ensure meaningful legislation is passed.”

Many Americans have continued to play online poker via illegal offshore sites in the years since Black Friday. If AB2863 comes to fruition, continuing to play on such sites could have dire consequences. The bill states that both operating an illegal online poker site in California and playing on such sites would be felony offenses.

However, illegal offshore operators mostly left New Jersey after the state passed regulations, according to Chris Grove at OnlinePokerReport. Grove also notes that the soonest an operator could receive a license is a year after regulations are passed, so 2016 will most likely not a legal hand of online poker dealt in the state even if AB2863 continues to make its way through legislation.

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