California Online Poker Laws
Important CA Notes CA residents can play at offshore poker rooms legally Despite several recent pushes, iPoker has not passed yet Tribal casinos offer plenty of live cardrooms Commercial casinos are still currently banned Prospects for legalization are excellent in coming years. Unfortunately, it looks like no online poker bills will be introduced this year in California. Online Poker Bill Introduced in Pennsylvania By Jon Pineda Online poker in Pennsylvania has been gaining some momentum in the last year or two, enough that many see the state as second, perhaps only behind California, in terms of how…. Meanwhile, California State Sen. As per Assemblyman Mike Gatto , Californian legislators come up with an average of 2 — 6 gambling bills almost every year since and not a single one of them has come anywhere close to being passed or enforced. If a poker room provides plenty of player traffic across all poker variants, they will receive a higher ranking than other online poker sites that are less busy. That is post when we had absolute certainty.
Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in California?
Regulators could decide to ban PokerStars from participating in California for five years. We've never said there shouldn't be judgment made in California on who are suitable operators. In Nevada, the five-year penalty was imposed by regulators, not the legislature. Other states that are currently looking at online poker, including Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan, have not considered PokerStars' suitability to be a legislative issue.
PokerStars is the most licensed online poker site in the world. For much of the year, the PokerStars coalition was able to call the Pechanga coalition obstructionists standing in the way of people in California getting consumer protections to play online poker. In the last month, that was turned upside down. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. Both sides have now shown that they have the power to block a bill they don't like from passing, leaving compromise as the only option. And Assemblyman Gray has shown he is willing to take either side to get a bill passed that does provide consumer protections and revenue for the state.
There was a significant amount of progress made in Entering the year, the participation of the horse racing industry seemed like an even more insurmountable obstacle with the Pechanga coalition than suitability standards.
Hostilities between the tribes and tracks dated back 15 years, but Gray introduced an annual stipend for horse racing to give up its right for a license that was in the end-of-session bill that Pechanga supported. And even if the Pechanga and PokerStars coalitions remain far apart on the proposal of the five-year penalty, Pechanga took a significant step toward compromise in moving away from its demand for a lifetime ban.
However, there was also an ugly side to online poker discussions this year that could affect what happens going forward. Gary Condit , to lobby on another issue, in addition to a very personal allegation against Hager in the Los Cerritos News. For all the effort he put in to have an online gambling bill closer than ever before to getting an Assembly vote in California, creating a solution to one of the two issues holding back passage, Gray was attacked from both sides.
He'll have a difficult decision on whether it's worth the hassle to continue fighting on this issue. I'm hoping that this whole episode hasn't soured him on supporting good policy in the future. I think everyone will retreat, lick their wounds and see what makes sense for Until that happens, I don't see this happening in California, and from a consumer standpoint that's the biggest disappointment. Be sure to complete your PokerNews experience by checking out an overview of our mobile and tablet apps here.
Stay on top of the poker world from your phone with our mobile iOS and Android app , or fire up our iPad app on your tablet. You can also update your own chip counts from poker tournaments around the world with MyStack on both Android and iOS. In , Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer introduced a new bill: This received a flat rejection from the Pechanga-Agua Caliente-Pala group.
California could receive significant revenue for merely regulating and legitimizing an industry that Californians already participate in but send their dollars overseas. AB 9 failed to move the Pechanga coalition. It simply made no sense for those not allied with PokerStars to allow them into California, especially since those parties probably had a legitimate sense of grievance PokerStars had collected hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal cash during its bad actor period.
Those backing PokerStars had other issues by the spring of Amaya Group was mired in legal troubles. Baazov had to step down from his position in the company, which was another PR black eye for the PokerStars coalition.
Early on, AB had tremendous support, as it passed in the General Assembly by a vote in January Fantasy sports legislation has the advantage that many lawmakers play fantasy sports and are less likely to be swayed by anti-DFS lobbyists. That does not always apply, because the California tribal casinos began opposing the bill in February AB included a softened bad actor clause that would ban PokerStars from California online poker for 5 years. This presumably would give its competitors a 5-year head start on building a player database and customer loyalty.
John Pappas of the Poker Players Alliance criticized the clause. Whatever the case, AB went down to defeat like all other California online poker bills since Once again, the bill contained a bad actor clause. Once again, the two factions could not agree on whether to ban PokerStars or allow it into the state. An attempt at negotiation took place in June , when the various Native American tribes met to discuss the legislative stalemate.
Reggie Jones-Sawyer tinkered with AB to create a refined bill he hoped would pass muster with both sides: Assemblyman Mike Gatto attempts to save online poker with Assembly Bill 9.
PokerStars could enter California if the Gaming Commission decided it deserved entrance. The bill was introduced late in the year, so Mike Gatto would have to wait until to receive his answer. Its huge player pool and popular poker software is an unbeatable combination. Meanwhile, a new California lawmaker joined the action: Jones-Sawyer, who represents South Los Angeles, would sponsor similar iPoker bills in , , and Senate Bill would have legalized online poker in California.
He would be convicted later in the year, then sentenced to 90 days in jail and banned from public office for life in September Meanwhile, California State Sen. This would become a perennial problem for those who supported California online poker legislation. Some horse racing insiders have communicated that if a resolution is not reached, they could also attempt to tie up legislation in the courts.
The Federal Wire Act , on the other hand, is not a hurdle to cross. Many believed it would make online poker illegal because bets would cross state lines via electronic means. At the time of its passage, there were no legal online poker sites operating within U. From through , the DOJ investigated the sites and looked for instances of violation.
Legalization is the key. There is a hot debate between lawmakers about this. However, the Morongo Tribe along with the Bicycle Casino, Hawaiian Gardens Casino and Commerce Casino has formed a partnership with PokerStars and are lobbying to have the company included in the legal market.
The new company is currently working with New Jersey to have PokerStars licensed and is expected to succeed. When a new bill is introduced later this year, the inclusion of a bad actor clause and the terms of the clause will go a long way in determining whether PokerStars or another post-UIGEA site will ever become licensed in the state. Legalization is needed to protect players. Full Tilt players received their bankrolls only after PokerStars purchased the company as part of their deal with the DOJ.
Absolute Poker and UltimateBet filed for bankruptcy and players have never been repaid. When online poker is legalized, sites will be required to go through a licensing process to offer games in the state.
Indian tribal sites would fall under tribal government jurisdiction and IGRA, but must also be licensed. Licensed online card rooms will be required to segregate funds in accounts separate from other casino operations. This keeps player funds safe and available whenever a withdrawal is requested. Finally, sites will be required to verify the identity and location of every player on their network. Players must be at least 21 years of age and located inside California in order to play.
Users will be verified based on legal documents provided and through geolocation software.