Correa Pulls SB 1366 Online Poker Bill due to Lack of Time

Correa Pulls SB 1366 Online Poker Bill due to Lack of TimeCalifornian Senator Lou Correa has pulled his online poker bill, blaming the lack of time available in the current legislative session to get it “done right”.

A major setback to the prospects of online poker in California was announced last night, when the Los Angeles Times broke the news that Californian Senator Lou Correa (D – Santa Ana) was pulling his online poker bill SB 1366 due to the lack of time available for the Bill to pass during the current legislative session.

Correa is the chairman of the Senate Governmental Organization “GO” Committee – the Committee responsible for public gaming in California (amongst other responsibilities) – and he believes that the work required to re-configure the Bill in order to get the agreement from Indian casino operators is too great to be completed before the Californian Assembly and Senate break for gubernatorial elections at the end of the month.

Senator Correa was quoted in the LA Times report as saying Internet poker is an important public policy. We need to make sure it´s done right; but SB1366 is unlikely to ever again see the light of day as, due to term limits, Senator Correa will step down at the end of August and will not be returning to revive his proposed legislation.

Is Time Also Running Out for AB 2291?

Senator Correa´s withdrawal of online poker bill SB 1366 also puts the success of the other online poker bill being proposed in California in doubt. AB 2291 was introduced by Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) back in February, but it too is still to be discussed at committee stage prior to being voted upon.

Of the two Bills, AB 2291 has been the most contentious as it includes clauses which eliminate “bad actors” and horseracing tracks from applying for operating licenses in California. The bad actor situation regarding PokerStars may have been overcome by [geolink href=””]Amaya´s recent acquisition of the Rational Group[/geolink], but lobbyists for the horseracing tracks have many supporters in both Houses who would oppose the passage of the Jones-Sawyer Bill as it currently stands.

This leaves just four weeks for Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer to get the Indian tribes and card rooms supporting his Bill to compromise on its content if there is going to be any forward movement for online poker in California during 2014 – an unlikely scenario considering the blatant self-interests the Californian Tribal Coalition has demonstrated in the past.

PPA Chief Executive Theorizes on Future

During an interview at the Global iGaming Summit and Expo (GIGse) recently held in San Francisco, the Chief Executive of the Poker Players Association – John Pappas – commented that it may be better to delay [geolink href=””]Californian poker regulation[/geolink] for another year in order for the opposing sides (of the same argument) to sort out their differences and engage in another round of discussions.

Pappas suggested that Californian lawmakers are using delaying tactics to see how online poker in other regulated States progresses; although the demise of SB 1366 and (potentially) AB2291 signals the end of any new online poker legislation being introduced in any State of the USA this year.

The demise of California´s online poker bills will also have an impact on non-regulated States that were keeping an eye on California´s progress before introducing their own legislation, and thwarts the hopes that a compact could be agreed between the Silver State and the Golden State in order to increase player liquidity in Nevada.

Temporary Solution for Online Poker Players in California

The ongoing situation in California is turning into a soap opera and proving to be frustrating for players and poker companies alike. However, a temporary solution exists for online poker players in California in the form of USA-friendly poker sites located in other jurisdictions, which you can find back on [geolink href=””]our homepage[/geolink].

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett