Delaware House okays online gambling bill; California poker bill not on agenda


california-delaware-online-gambling-billsDelaware’s House of Representatives has approved legislation that would permit intrastate online gambling and expand the number of retail locations offering sports betting products. Following approval by a House committee last month, the full House approved HB333 aka the Delaware Gaming Competitiveness Act by a vote of 29 to 8 on Tuesday. The Act calls for online poker, slots, table games and keno to be regulated by the state Lottery, offered via sites fronted by the state’s three land-based casinos on a platform operated by a yet-to-be-determined third-party vendor. The Act also boosts the number of venues offering Delaware’s version of sports betting by 20. Delaware was one of the four states that opted-in to legal sports betting when the federal PASPA sports betting prohibitions were enacted in 1992, but Delaware was restricted to three-game parlay bets. The legislation now moves to the Senate.

The legislative picture was less rosy in California. State Sen. Rod Wright was scheduled to bring his SB1463 online poker bill up at Tuesday’s meeting of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee, but immediately after the meeting got underway, Wright announced the item had been removed from the day’s agenda. The Sacramento Bee reported that this announcement sparked “an exodus to the hallway” by as much as 75% of the citizens who’d gathered to witness the proceedings. Wright evidently wasn’t convinced he had sufficient support among the Committee membership to carry the day.

Wright’s bill had undergone significant amendments since its introduction, including the elimination of any form of online gambling other than poker and the dropping of the requirement for the state’s Indian tribes to waive their sovereignty in order to apply for a license. Regardless, many of the state’s tribes and card rooms still have problems with the bill, in particular the eligibility of state racetracks to apply for licenses. Wright’s spokesperson Jennifer Hanson said the senator “can’t say for certain this bill is still going to move,” although she acknowledged that a further round of revisions may be in the offing. Wright subsequently told the LA Times he planned “to try and work some more and see what we can do. We will keep talking. But it’s a tough go.” As for the complaints re the racetracks, Wright countered by noting that limiting the number of participants means “limiting the number of dollars that come in to the state.” Meanwhile, the state’s Assembly Governmental Organization Committee will discuss California’s sports betting bill on June 20.