California Senator Roderick Wright announced on May 14th, 2010 that he is creating a bill that would license and regulate online poker gaming in the state.
But Senator Wright admitted that even if the bill is approved, he is not sure if it would be implemented. He said that the whole process could take two to three years, referring to a potential legal problem over whether online poker violates the gaming compacts the state of California signed with Indian tribes.
Wright added that they could have a proposal that will end up at the Supreme Court. Sen. Wright, who was speaking at the Global i-Gaming Summit and Expo, stated that proposal was nearly complete finish and would be formally introduce soon.
Wright said that he expects that the first argument that they will face will whether be playing online poker violates the state's gaming compacts with the Indian tribes.
The chairwoman of the California Tribal Business Alliance (CTBA), Leslie Lohse, confirmed in an earlier meeting at GIGSE that her group believes that online poker violates the gaming compacts tribes have signed with California. The compacts give the Indian tribes a degree of exclusivity on "gaming devices".
Lohse said that it is a violation of the compacts the state of California signed with the Indian tribes to feature gaming devices when that device permits a gamer to connect to a gaming system and place a wager. Lohse said that definition includes a computer.
Lohse noted that the state had not been successful in cases against Indian tribes over gaming compact issues. Lohse also said that the issue of online poker has more to do with just the legal language in a gaming compact. Federal law regarding the economic viability of the tribes is the main issue for the CTA.
Lohse said that it is not a federal policy to destroy the progress that Indian tribes have made. Wright said that he believes that a common ground can be achieved in the issue. He said that he thinks that they can honor the gaming compact with the Indian tribes while producing additional revenue for the state.
He added that doing nothing about the issue is definitely not an option and believes that online poker gaming is an asset that the state should not ignore. Sen. Wright's goal for web poker in the state of California focuses on competitiveness and creating an excellent environment where online poker operators will make some money.
Sen. Wright also said that his bill would permit all California gambling licensees to apply for licenses for online poker. He said that it will be a non-discriminatory procedure, so if a gaming operator qualifies the requirements of the California justice department, they can bid. It is estimated that gamers in California bet four billion dollars annually on online poker sites.
published 07/26/2010 14:27 PM