On February 24, California Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) introduced a bill to allow intrastate online gambling, reported PokerNews.com. Despite previous failed attempts to get approval for online poker in California, the Department of Justice's recently updated opinion on online gaming may increase the bill's likelihood of success.
If passed, the Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2012, also known as SB 1463, would only allow poker for the first two years of regulation, reported OnlinePokerNews.org. Eligible operators could apply for a 10-year license. Those approved would pay a mandatory $30 million licensing fee, credited against gross gaming revenue proceeds for the first three years of operation.
The department would potentially phase in other games allowed under the California Constitution and the Penal Code after the first two years.
The move is an effort to pump more money—prospectively $200 million in the fiscal year 2012-2013—into state coffers for public services that have suffered as a result of California's budget crisis.
Nevada has already legalized intrastate online poker, and the neighboring state is close to licensing it.
But California Governor Jerry Brown is skeptical online gaming could boost the state's ailing economy, reported OnlinePokerNews.org.
Also hindering the bill's passage: the California tribal casino community remains divided on Internet gaming. California tribes funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to the state annually, in addition to making significant donations to lobbyists, thus potentially thwarting politicians' motives to move forward with online gaming.