Online Poker Fans Have To Wait Longer

Published on: September 6, 2008 

The state of California has been progressing slowly towards legalizing online poker play, but online poker fans are going to have to wait a little bit longer before they can go back to playing without worrying about whether or not they are committing a crime.  Assemblyman Lloyd Levine’s bill AB 2026 is going to be on hold and reintroduced in January of 2009.  It was before the California Senate Appropriations Committee for vote before it was put on hold and while there was no reason given for the hold, it is believed that the state’s over-full political schedule and the Presidential races have something to do with it.

The bill was first introduced into the state’s legislature in February of 2008.  It started out as an enquiry into how well the state’s citizens would accept regulated and taxed online poker in California based on the guidelines stipulated in the UIGEA.  It was then later amended to legalize the game in the state and then amended back to the independent survey that it originally started out as.  Levine has stated that his bill is ‘an attempt to do what the federal government allows – provide people who want to play in California at least the opportunity to play internet poker in a way that they can be certain is safe and regulated.’

The citizen sponsor for the bill is Jim Tabilio, the Poker Voters of America President, who was the one who actually called for the hold last month.  He did not give a reason for it, but is encouraged that the California legislators are taking the bill and the issue of legalized online gaming – specifically poker – seriously.  The legislators are actually asking the right questions in regard to the bill and that they realize that this is an important issue to voters.  Says Tabilio, “The plan going forward is to bring together the potential stakeholders to help craft a final version of the bill that protects Californians who play online and maximizes revenue for the state.”

There are close to an estimated two million online poker players in the state of California.  Already the state has spearheaded initiatives towards legalizing online poker.  In 2007 Anthony ‘Tuff Fish’ Sandstrom, a poker player from the state, initiated a petition to start a state-run online poker site for the state.  The petition was approved by the California Secretary of State, but Sandstrom later withdrew the petition for unknown reasons.  Hopefully the bill will do well when it’s reintroduced into the state’s legislature for 2009.

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