If the latest US online poker hearing was a game of legislative Monopoly, then the State of California would have just been told to pass Go and collect $200.
Following a recent hearing by the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee (GO), Assembly member Adam Gray’s AB 431 bill has been given the green light to move onto the next stage of the regulatory process
After some tweaks and backroom negotiations, AB 431 received unanimous “yes” from GO which means the chances of California regulating online poker in 2015 took a huge step forward overnight.
Although favorable result doesn’t mean the bill has been approved and regulation is set to be implemented, it is a positive sign that the tide of political opinion has moved in favor of legalizing the industry within California.
A Double Win for California
According to Online Poker Report’s Chris Grove, the yes vote from GO is significant for two reasons:
“This is the first time an online poker bill has received a committee vote in California.
Going into the weekend, it was unclear whether the bill would have the support necessary to secure passage by the GO,” wrote Grove.Â The unexpectedly positive response now means that the industry now has a very real chance of going live within the coming months.
While a definitive “yes” by the close of 2015 is still not a formality, but many are suggesting this is the clearest sign yet that California will become a regulated igaming state.
“F or the first time ever, a bill about Online Poker in California is moving forward through a Committee vote, opening the door to a $300 million market opportunity. It’s not about IF anymore, but WHEN online poker will be launched in California and how it will impact poker global growth and mainstream recognition,” said CEO of the Global Poker Index, Alex Dreyfus.
California the Key to Unlocking US iGaming
The reason many feel this is significant is because California is one of the most populated states in the US and is seen as the possible lynchpin that will unlock many more regions.
Although there are a lot of ifs still in the equation, the recent news is hugely positive for both the industry in the US and the community at large.
However, as stated, the online poker bill has a number of votes yet to pass through before it can be written into law. The next step is an informational hearing entitled “Overview of Gambling in California—Legality, Authorization and Regulation” which will take place on May 20 before a two further hearings tentatively scheduled to take place on June 24 and July 8.
If AB 431 can pass through all these stages successfully then Californians, moreover, Americans, could be in for a huge poker boost in the coming months.