Two California Online Poker Bills Introduced at Legislative Deadline

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On the day of the session deadline for the introduction of bills, two efforts to regulate online poker in California surfaced from the legislature.

The first is effectively a re-introduction of SB 678, which was backed by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. The bill number is listed as SB 1366. No sponsor is identified on the bill but I assume it’s State Sen. Lou Correa (D-34), who authored SB 678.

Read the full text of SB 1366 here. Best I can tell on a quick read, it’s a dead copy of SB 678.

The second is AB 2291, introduced by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-59).

Read the full text of AB 2291 here.

AB 2291 is supported by a wide-ranging consortium of tribes, including the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, the Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, the Barona Band of Mission Indians and the Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

There’s quite a bit to get through, so for now I’ll post quick summaries from the bills and save the in-depth read for later this weekend.

Summary of AB 2291

In a letter circulated to tribal leaders, the groups supporting AB 2291 described their new bill as such:

While most of the language of the bill is similar to what we circulated almost a year ago, this version intentionally leaves open controversial sections, like the so-called bad actor provisions and the number of sites per license. We did so as a demonstration of our commitment to continuing our good-faith efforts to reach tribal consensus through dialogue.

The bill is poker-only. Tribes and card rooms can receive licenses.

Per the summary, the bill:

  • Establishes a framework to authorize intrastate online poker.
  • Allows for 10-year, non-transferable licenses.
  • Disallows businesses from setting up what amount to online poker cafes.
  • Calls for full regulations within 270 days of passage.
  • Calls for unspecified regulatory fees.
  • Calls for a $5mm license fee.
  • Establishes the Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Fund to provide funding to shut down non-compliant entities.
  • Prohibits “the state from affirmatively electing to be subject to a federal Internet gambling law, as specified, and would require the state to opt out of, 

    or would prohibit the state from opting into, any federal Internet gambling scheme.”

  • Is an urgency statute.

Read the full text of AB 2291 here.

Summary of SB 1366

As noted above, this bill is a reintroduction of an existing bill.

You can read a thorough summary of that bill at QuadJacks.

- Chris is the publisher of Grove also serves as a consultant to various stakeholders in the regulated market for online gambling in the United States.
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