Although the UIGEA has so far seemed to be an insurmountable foe to American poker players, fans of the game living in the state of California may have a bit of hope on the horizon. California State Assemblyman Lloyd Levine has introduced a new assembly bill that will direct the California Gambling Control Commission and the Department of Justice to investigate the possibility of authorizing a system that will allow for intrastate internet poker.
If passed, Levine’s bill – which is called AB2026 – would commission a study of the UIGEA in order to deduce whether California-only online poker sites would be legal.
Assemblyman Levine introduced the bill because he strongly believes that as long as both the player and the service provider are located within the state of California then online poker should be legal despite what the UIGEA has to say about it.
In regards to the legality of the maneuver, Levine was quoted as saying that, “This is what we are trying to find out.”
The Assemblyman continued to say that the benefit of a one-state system is that the legislature and the Governor would ultimately be in control of the logistics of the operation, thus ensuring the protection of California’s poker players.
“We don’t know what the state’s piece will be, but it will be a regulated entity.”
Levine also said that his study bill is intended to determine whether or not such a system is even legal. If the study proves to be successful, it would graduate from being just a study bill into a real push to re-legalize online poker in the state of California.
“It’s a study bill while we work out the details,” he said. “But we might put some teeth into it if it looks like we can do this.”
A big selling point of having legalized intrastate online poker is that it is widely believed to be a potential source for State finances. Such is always the argument although it’s baffling the US government does not want what could potentially turn into billions of dollars of extra tax revenue, simply for re-legalizing poker in the US.
The bill is expected to be heard in Committee on Thursday March 20th.