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California moves to legalize online poker

2 Jun 2010

OS ANGELES, California -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Following months of legislative debate on Internet poker, California state Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Inglewood, moved last Friday to amend Senate Bill 1485 which would authorize the state's Department of Justice to award contracts for intrastate online poker websites.

A coalition of California tribal governments and card rooms lead by the Commerce Casino, Hollywood Park Casino, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Bicycle Casino and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians issued a statement calling for regulation and taxation of online poker.

"With the introduction of SB 1485, California is one step closer to allowing the establishment of legal intrastate online poker Web sites that will offer consumer protections and provide desperately needed revenue for the state.

Millions of Californians are already playing poker online using illegal offshore Web sites at great risk to their privacy and possible identity theft. Online poker needs to be brought out of the shadows in an open and transparent system so that players can be confident their personal information and winnings are secure, and the state can recoup the millions in revenue that are being lost to offshore interests every day."

The coalition stated it would be reviewing the bill carefully and offering its expertise on gaming issues with an eye toward getting comprehensive legislation passed this year and said it would be working with the Legislature "to ensure that California consumers are protected and California receives the revenue it deserves".

The newly proposed bill would award up to three contracts to California-based operators to run intrastate online poker websites for registered players in California for a period of five years. It also makes it illegal for any person in California to play an Internet gambling game that is not authorized by the state.

Wright's proposed bill will require legislative analysis and a second hearing by the Senate Governmental Organization Committee.
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