Californian online poker bill gathers momentum

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Influential state senator signed up in support as co-author of the Wright bill

One of two competing internet poker legalisation bills in the California legislative system received a boost Friday when the influential state Senate Leader, Darrell Steinberg, threw his support behind SB1483 introduced by Senator Roderick Wright in his latest attempt to get intrastate online poker approved.

The Wright bill would allow gambling firms to apply to the state Department of Justice for 10-year licenses on condition they ante up $30 million in licensing fees for each website, the LA Times reports.

Wright and Steinberg cut it fine, introducing SB 1463 on the last day for legislation to be proposed for this year

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“We believe that there are millions of Californians already gambling illegally on the Internet,” said Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for Steinberg.”This bill sets up some standards and regulations and consumer protections.”

Senate President Pro Tem Steinberg also believes that the bill potentially could bring the state coffers hundreds of millions of dollars.

A coalition of card clubs and Indian casinos has been trying to get Internet poker legalised in the state for years (see previous Online Casino Guide reports), competing with measures repeatedly launched by Sen. Wright, but both have hitherto made little progress.

However, with the recent change in federal enforcement attitudes towards the Wire Act, and continued pressure on the state budget, this year could produce a breakthrough.