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Internet poker bill faces long odds, senator says

June 12, 2012 |  4:58 pm

State Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) said late Tuesday that he would continue negotiations to try to  reach a compromise on legalizing Internet poker in California, but he estimated the odds of success this year are "less than 50-50."

Wright pulled a bill he wrote from the agenda of a Senate hearing as some observers said it did not have enough votes to get out of the Governmental Organization Committee that he chairs.

"We’re going to try and work some more and see what we can do," Wright said. "We will keep talking. But it’s a tough go."

Wright said different groups want different things in the bill that conflict, and some Indian tribes that operate casinos appear firmly against legalizing Internet poker because of fear it will take away their business. The senator said some card clubs that provide poker in casinos don’t want horse-racing tracks and other newcomers to the game to offer poker on the Web.

"If you limit who can participate, you are limiting the number of dollars that come in to the state," Wright said. "Underlying all of this is you still have a public interest to uphold."

Meanwhile, other lawmakers, including Sen. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), said they may pursue alternative legislation allowing Internet poker.

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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

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