Another round for California Internet gambling bill
A California lawmaker has resurrected a long-stalled proposal to legalize Internet poker and other online gambling to bring up to $200 million annually to the state coffers, but some Indian casino operators are betting it will once again fall flat.
State Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Los Angeles) has introduced SB 51, which would have the state issue five-year licenses to operate Internet gambling websites, with eligible bidders including Indian tribes, card clubs, horseracing associations and online advanced deposit wagering sites.
Wright has introduced similar bills since 2009 and they have never made it out of the Senate committee he chairs that oversees gambling in the state. Earlier this year, a coalition of card clubs and Indian casinos called the California Online Poker Assn. disbanded amid frustration that the issue remained gridlocked.
The California Tribal Business Alliance does not like that the new bill continues to allow card clubs and others to run sites that might take business away from brick-and-morter Indian casinos with exclusive state rights to electronic games.
"It gives no nod to Indian sovereignty or to our current exclusivity," said David Quintana, political director for the alliance, about the bill. "I think that bill is going to have to be dramatically changed to move forward."
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: State Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Los Angeles) has resurrected his bill to legalize online gambling. Credit: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli.