Assemblyman Gray's AB 431 Is Still Alive
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Gatto: Canceling Hearing On California Online Poker Bill ‘Right Thing To Do’

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Assemblyman Mike Gatto has given up on attempting to pass his bill that would regulate online poker in California, saying that a consensus on how to proceed had not been built.

‘The right thing to do’

Gatto’s statement says that his bill — AB 9 — will not be considered at a Governmental Organization hearing that is scheduled for Wednesday. As of now, his bill and another bill — Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s AB 167 — are still on the hearing agenda.

Here is the complete statement from Gatto about AB 9:

“I am canceling next week’s hearing of my Assembly Bill 9.  I believe this is the right thing to do at this point because there is no consensus on the issue yet.  My bill has an “urgency” clause, and thus it can be resuscitated at any time.

Over the past three years, I have met with representatives from nearly every software provider, card room, gaming tribe, racetrack, and internet-poker operator who has an opinion on the subject.  I gave my word to both supporters and opponents of AB 9 that my goal was consensus, and that I would not move forward with anything that achieved less than that.

I will continue working to craft legislation on which the interested parties can agree, and which is good for the people and treasury of the state of California.”

Gray’s bill still alive

Assemblyman Adam Gray’s AB 431 — the bill that appears to be the most likely vehicle to regulate online poker in the state — was not on the committee’s agenda for Wednesday.

The fact that Gatto’s bill will not move forward is not a shocking development, as most of the focus of gaming stakeholders in the state has been on Gray’s bill.

At an informational hearing last week about online poker, there appeared to be a wide chasm between the various gambling interests in the state, including tribes, race tracks and card rooms.

Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Gatto’s website.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner. He has played poker recreationally for his entire adult life and has written about poker since 2008.