The Assembly Governmental Organization Committee voted unanimously this week in favor of advancing AB 431. The positive vote marks the first time that the legislature has moved a digital gambling bill towards a floor vote that could allow widespread sponsorship by Native American casinos, horse tracks and poker of online gambling.
With roughly 160 casinos and card rooms combined, 6 horse tracks and more than 21,000 lottery retail locations, California’s gambling industry generates more revenue than just about any state in the country.
There are no written laws in the State of California that prohibit, ban, or regulate online gambling. This means that online gambling in California is not a crime and residents cannot be arrested or prosecuted for gambling online. The only requirement related in California is the age of the participant. Residents must be 18 years old to play the lottery and 21 years old to play in online casinos, sportsbooks, poker rooms, and bingo halls.
The state of California has tried to pass laws several times that would allow the Legislature to regulate online gambling. The closest effort before this week was AB 678, the “Authorization and Regulation of Internet Poker and Consumer Protection Act of 2013.” But the past legislative efforts have attempted to keep tribal interests out of the online game altogether, something that obviously didn’t fly amongst Native Americans.
Online gambling should be open to all companies that can afford it, not just Indian concerns and racetracks. Why the monopoly? The compact wasn't for online gambling and it shouldn't cover it. To borrow a line from Macarro..we need to make California self sufficient. Not just tribal factions.
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