A week after pulling it from a July 8th hearing, California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer announced his online poker bill, AB 167, has been rescheduled. Jones-Sawyer’s bill will be heard at an August hearing in front of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee according to EGR North America.
The exact date of the August hearing is unknown at this point, but will not occur before August 17, when the legislature returns from their summer recess.
The date of the hearing may not be known, but what is becoming crystal clear is the mood at and following the hearing will let us know if online poker has any chance of passing in 2015.
Most observers are of the opinion it will now take a miracle for online poker to pass in California this year.
Online poker running out of time
The California legislature will go on their summer recess on July 17 and will return until August 17. From there, they will only have until September 11 to get legislation passed and on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown before adjourning for the remainder of the year.
Even though Jones-Sawyer has rescheduled his online poker bill, and Adam Gray’s AB 431 has already passed the GO and Appropriations Committees (and could be voted on by the Assembly at any point), online poker expansion in 2015 has been more or less written off this year.
While a slim glimmer of hope remains, there has been little progress made by the state’s stakeholders on the most contentious issues, bad actor clauses and the role of racetracks. With just a small window from mid-August to early September remaining, and with several very prickly issues yet to be resolved it’s unlikely the legislature will be able to muster enough support to pass an online poker bill in 2015.
And neither bill being considered, AB 167 or AB 431, looks promising.
Gray’s AB 431 is merely a shell bill, with no specific policies. Once specific policies are written into the bill it will almost assuredly come under much heavier fire than it has up to this point.
On the other hand, Jones-Sawyer’s AB 167 is a detailed bill, but is anathema to the Pechanga coalition as it not only lacks any type of a bad actor clause, but also permits racetracks to apply for online poker licenses.
While there is still time, and there is a clear legislative window to get a bill passed, don’t expect online poker to move forward in 2015.
Maybe next year California.
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