California Online Poker Battle Lost for 2015

September 12th, 2015 | by Kaycee James
No online poker in California in 2015.

Online poker won’t be regulated in California this year after legislative deadline passes despite Mike Gatto’s efforts. (Image: KTLA)

September 11 will stick in the memories of Californian grinders for more reasons than one this year as it represented the final day in which online poker legislation could be passed in 2015.

Although the chances of the industry being regulated in California looked slim for much of the year, some players and industry insiders (including the PokerStars which sent a collection of pros to the state to promote the game) still held out some hope.

Unfortunately, however, with various factions within the state unable to agree on terms, both Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s and Assemblyman Adam Gray’s California Online Poker bills have now been shelved.

A Wall of Silence Deafens iGaming Supporters

The warning signs that the deliberative process had ground to a halt became clear in July when a hearing was pulled.

An expected follow up meeting was then omitted from the August schedule which virtually closed the door on any legislation being passed in 2015.

Commenting on the latest development, representatives for Gray suggested that his bill (a bill which is yet to be filled with any real detail) will be resubmitted at the next available period which will be in January.

At the start of 2015 the mood in the Golden State was buoyant thanks to the submission of four separate online poker bills.

However, this quartet of hope quickly fragmented as various players in government, as well as the casino industry, began to dispute the direction of each bill.

One of the biggest blows for those within California was the disagreement between 13 bands of Indians.

With disputes raging between the tribal factions regarding issues such as PokerStars, bad actor clauses and the horse racing industry, a stalemate was reached and this ultimately caused the whole process to fall apart.

California’s Stalling Deals Blow to US Market 

While the breakdown of talks in one state wouldn’t normally strike such a blow to the US iGaming market as a whole, many have suggested that California could be the lynchpin that unlocks the rest of the country.

Aside from being one of the largest and most populated states in the US, California has an annual GDP of more than $2 trillion.

In addition to that state’s wealth, per capita income at the date of the last census was $29,527 (2013) and the median household income across the state was $61,094.

This level of wealth is something many believe will help the online poker market in California thrive and, if the state can prove the industry is a profitable endeavor, it could prompt more regions to regulate the game.

Unfortunately, however, if this is going to happen then it now won’t be until 2016 at the earliest.

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