California online poker will have yet another day in Sacramento when the State Assembly’s Governmental Organization (GO) Committee hears a bill on April 27.
First introduced in February by Assemblymen Adam Gray (D-District 21) and Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-District 59), Assembly Bill 2863 seeks to amend California’s current Gambling Control Act to allow intrastate Internet poker.
Dubbed the “Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2016,” AB 2863 would authorize land-based card rooms and tribal casinos to offer poker online. The first $60 million of generated revenues each year would be directed to the struggling horse racing industry in the Golden State.
Gray, who also chairs the GO Committee, is leading the way in California in tackling emerging online betting enterprises. Aside from iPoker, Gray has also introduced legislation to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports (DFS).
“In order to protect the interests of Californians who play online gambling games and to ensure that people play fair games, that the state realizes the revenues, and that suitable persons operate authorized poker websites, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately,” Gray explained.
Though AB 2863 could have potentially been discussed at tomorrow’s GO Committee hearing that is scheduled to consider 15 bills mostly related to alcohol and gambling, Gray is singling out his legislation for a meeting the following week.
The April 27 agenda lists “urgency” next to AB 2863.
Gray’s campaign to legalize Internet poker is not without its risks. This time last year, a similar bill (AB 431) authored by Gray passed the GO Committee, but it was heavily opposed by powerful tribal organizations that didn’t want race tracks in on the Internet gambling game.
The annual $60 million, should poker networks somehow manage to profit at such exorbitant rates, is Gray’s olive branch to both Native American groups and the horse racing industry.
Gray’s quest for the end of online poker prohibition continues a week from tomorrow.
As anticipated, PokerStars’ return to New Jersey last month provided a surge in iPoker revenue for the state and more robust interactive tables for players. Though the network was officially in operation for only the final 10 days of the month, March posted $2.45 million in iPoker revenues, the best number since April 2014.
Due to the Garden State’s isolated online gambling market, PokerStars’ impact on New Jersey wasn’t necessarily expected to trickle over to Delaware, but alas, the market there is conjointly improving.
Poker rake and fee for March totaled $37,324 in the First State, a 24 percent gain compared to February and the highest total since last May.
Delaware and New Jersey are of course neighboring states separated by only the Delaware River. Though few Delawareans commute to Jersey for employment, the news of PokerStars’ return has been relayed, and to some degree, strengthened Delaware’s online card rooms.
The Delaware iPoker industry enjoyed a similar swell during last spring and nearly capped $50,000 a year ago this month. Home to just 945,000 residents, roughly 11 percent of New Jersey’s population, proportionally Delaware’s Internet poker market remains drastically lower compared to its neighbor.