After seven long years of online gambling debates, California’s web poker bill AB 431 has more potential than any related measure the state has ever seen. According to the Poker Players Alliance (PPA), it could progress even further today with a vote by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Web poker bill AB 431 was introduced in February 2015 by Assemblyman Adam Gray, and made history two months later when it became the first online poker related proposal to ever go to a vote. The Assembly Governmental Organizations Committee voted in favor of AB 431 by a margin of 20-0 on April 27.
From there, it was passed on to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, who held their first reading of the web poker bill yesterday. The Committee will meet again today, where the PPA is hopeful for another affirmative vote.
Yesterday evening, just hours after the Appropriations Committee adjourned, the PPA tweeted (@ppapoker):
“CA Internet #poker legislation very much alive. Approps could move bill out of Committee tmrw. Next step would be full Assembly vote. #AB431”
That message gave California’s online poker fans great hope for the future of online poker, but there are still several obstacles the legislation must overcome before it hits the Governor’s desk.
As Chris Krafcik of Gambling Compliance pointed out earlier in the day (@CKrafcik), sources had confirmed to him that “#CA #iPoker bill AB431 will clear Approps. Comm. Thurs. but will be held on Assembly floor until after June/July iPoker hearings.”
Progression of California Web Poker Bill AB 431
Having passed by a 20-0 vote in the Assembly GO Committee last month, AB 431 now needs the approval of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If that group votes in favor of the web poker bill today, as industry analysts predict, there’s still a long road ahead for California online poker.
The next step would be for the entire Assembly to review and vote on the measure. However, as Krafcik previously stated, it will be at least two months before that happens.
There are two more web poker hearings scheduled in the California Assembly. The first is a Joint Senate/Assembly hearing on “The Legality of Internet Poker-How Prepared is California to Regulate It?”, slated for Wednesday, June 24, 2015. Next up is a GO Committee hearing in which the Assembly will debate two other web poke bills; Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s AB 9, and Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s AB 167.
The review of those web poker measures could prove highly successful in filling in some of the blanks in AB 431, which is still considered a “shell bill” at this point. Committee members will likely pick apart the positive and negative aspects of each, inserting the legislative guidelines they are most comfortable with, such as licensing fees, tax rates, bad actor/tainted assets clauses, eligibility for horse race tracks, etc.
If all goes well up to that point, the California Senate would get ahold of the web poker bill. And if approved on a senatorial level, AB 431 would finally land atop the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown for final legislative approval. Finally, the measure would be presented to the public for a vote, and if approved, online poker would finally become legal in the state of California.