Talks Continue for iPoker Gaming in California

California State SealThe state of California is part of a small group of states that could be the next to enter the online poker industry of the United States. After watching Delaware, New Jersey and Nevada be successful with online gaming, California is considering legislation that would allow for residents and visitors to the state to take part in such gaming. There is already measures on the table for consideration but the invested parties cannot seem to come to an agreement on what should actually be allowed or not allowed in the industry.

Officials of the state have already held hearings on the subject, learning more about the proposed legislation as well as discussing different options for the state. Just yesterday, the state saw lawmakers coming together for an informal hearing which would see information shared on the subject of gaming. The hearing had a title of Overview of Gambling in California: Legality, Authorization and Regulation. Efforts were discussed on how the state can legalize online poker for real money game play.

During the hearing, testimony took place that would recap the current gambling industry in California as well as what could happen in the future. The Gambling Control Commission and Department of Justice in California stated that more resources would be needed if online poker would be legalized. The two groups also want more resources to be considered since the state already has a multi-faceted gambling market as well as regulatory backlog that already exists.

It was revealed during the meeting that card rooms can bring in as much as $850 million in annual revenues while the tribal gaming industry is worth around $7 billion every year. Horse tracks are also located in the state and allow betting online. The tracks are interested in being a part of the online poker industry but many interested parties want to keep the tracks out.

The state of California has over 37 million people living in its borders so the potential for a large online poker market is definitely there. However, there will be a limit as to how many poker sites and/or networks will be allowed in the state.

On-site during the hearing was Chris Grove of Online Poker Report. Grove was able to watch the hearing and then take notes of the speakers of the event. Listening to the Executive Director of the California Horse Racing Board, Rick Baedeker, Grove stated that there was an argument for tracks to be allowed to participate in online poker gaming. On Twitter, Grove stated that his personal opinion is that the horse tracks is far from compromise and a showdown is sure to take place between the horse tracks, Indian tribes and card rooms.

Back in April, one of the online poker bills introduced in California was able to advance from the committee. This was the very first time a proposal was able to move forward on the subject of online poker in California. The measure was not necessarily going to allow any gaming in the state per say but is a good starting point for the state to get started in legalizing online poker.

The Assembly Governmental Organization Committee passed AB 431 but is still only a shell bill which means more information will have to be added before the bill be considered this year. While the hearing yesterday did discuss online poker gaming there was no vote on the subject during the meeting. A second hearing is scheduled for June 24th with the title: “The Legality of Internet Poker-How Prepared is California to Regulate It?” This hearing will also be one only for information on the subject of iPoker.