If recent reports prove accurate, online poker may have already been quietly shelved in California for the remainder of the year. According to a report last week on Capitol Weekly, California Tribal Business Alliance lobbyist David Quintana has reportedly told tribes that online poker has been shelved for the remainder of 2015.
This announcement comes just after AB 431 was put into a virtual holding pattern as lawmakers still have two hearings to conduct later this summer. If this latest announcement proves true, the hearings may change focus or could be cancelled altogether.
Unlikely Source Reportedly Shelving Online Poker
According to Quintana, Senator Isadore Hall is effectively shelving online poker for the legislative session. Quintana spoke with Hall earlier this month regarding his position on online poker and revealed, “He said he will not be setting or hearing any internet poker bills this year.”
He continued stating, “Online poker is dead. There was no momentum. He’s not going to hear the bills.” If this stance is proven true, that would explain why Hall failed to attend a joint GO hearing regarding online poker. Hall stated that he didn’t come because the hearing was “informational only” but as the head of a major committee considering the matter, one would have thought his attendance would be compulsory.
Gray Contends AB 431 Not Dead Yet
Assembly GO Chairman Adam Gray is still hopeful that an agreement can be reached this year regarding online poker. His bill, AB 431 is currently on the Assembly floor awaiting the results of two online poker hearings later this summer. The bill is currently a single page “shell” bill lacking any real details for iPoker regulations in the state.
According to Gray, “This issue is alive – very much so. We’re in the process of holding stakeholder meetings. Do we want to establish a framework for internet poker or do we want to do nothing?” he continued. “Those are the only two choices.”
If a bill isn’t passed by September 11, the bill will officially die unless it is made into a two-year bill. If that happens, it will be reconsidered in 2016.
Does Any Hope Remain for 2015?
The big question left on the mind of iPoker supporters is whether there is any hope remaining for passing a bill this year. If there is, it is fleeting. A recent smear campaign started by the Viejas tribes against PokerStars shows that the divide over bad actors remains as wide as ever. If tribal position hasn’t changed on bad actors, what reason is there to believe they will budge on race track participation.
PokerStars is scheduled to begin operations in New Jersey in late 2015. After this happens, expect every move they make to be looked at closely by both sides. Should PokerStars prove to be a valued asset in New Jersey, this could help sway parties away from the position of the Pechanga Coalition and begin to clear the roadblock to iPoker legalization.