California’s hopes of passing an online poker bill before the current legislative session ends on August 31 has put the clock on a scramble that many believe could go down to the wire. With time running out, the California Online Poker Association has thrown its support for the state’s online poker bill (SB1463), although it’s doing so with proposed changes to the bill.
The most notable of these amendments involve the elimination of racing associations as eligible license applicants, according to Pokerfuse.com.
Despite the scrambling to get the bill amended and presented, there seems to be a growing cloud of doubt forming relative to the time left on the table to accomplish everything that needs to be done to ensure that the bill is passed. Earler this week, Senate Pro Tem Darrel Steinberg told reporters that passage of the bill was still “possible, but I don’t see it in the last four weeks.”
So, in an effort to clear a potential hurdle involving divided tribal interestes in the bill, COPA is stepping up and letting its voice be heard.
Ryan Hightower, the spokesman for COPA, released a statement with regards to the proposed amendments to the bill, which, as the statement reads, would “ensure California receives its fair share of revenues and jobs from online poker rather than allowing them to be shipped out-of-state.”
“California cannot afford to give up 1,300 jobs and $1.4 billion in new revenue for California over the next ten years by further delaying online poker legislation,” the statement adds.
Seeing as COPA is an organization made up of 31 brick-and-mortar casinos, 29 Indian gaming tribes, and represents over 70% of the state’s poker tables, their pledge of support could be what Sen. Wright is looking for to get the bill back up to the table.
After all, it was objections made by some Indian tribes and a universal lack of support that led to the bill being unceremoniously pulled out of the agenda of a Senate Governmental Organization Committee hearing a few months ago.
The senator’s bill has undergone significant amendments since its introduction. The most notable of these amendments include 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. Yet those amendments still couldn’t clear up what has become a convoluted mess of opinions and posturing.
But with COPA getting into the picture, could there still be a last-minute turnaround that would bring legs back to SB 1463? There’s still a lot of work to be done before the August 31 deadline, but what we do know is that there may still be hope after all.