California regulated online poker took a tiny step closer to becoming a reality last week with bill AB431, as the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee voted massively in favor of the bill. Before any poker players in California get too excited however, it has to be noted that this is just the first step of the legislative process that moves the bill out of the GOC and onto the next step, however this is significant in that it’s the first California poker bill that has in fact made it this far.
Should the bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Adam Gray not have attracted the necessary votes it would have likely put an end to any thoughts of regulated poker for 2015, however that was not the case. VP of Business Development at Bluff Steve Preiss stated that, “With AB 431 advancing through GO, the framework is at least in place for continued progress in bringing regulated online poker to California this year, outstanding concerns such as track participation still need to be resolved, but today is clearly a win.”
There are now 4 meetings throughout the summer and there’s plenty to be optimistic about with many observers finally saying with some conviction that it’s no longer a case of ‘if’ but ‘when’ online poker becomes regulated in the state of California. There are however issues that will still need resolving and here’s the sticky part. The level of tax has to be set, fees for licensing needs to be addressed as does a regulatory structure and revenue sharing. California is of course the biggest state in the US and as such there will be high expectations as to the revenue generated by a regulated online poker market with upwards of $200 million being a ballpark figure for the first year.