Online and Mobile Poker Could Launch in California Soon

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It’s the fantastic news some Americans have been desperately waiting on – online and mobile poker could soon launch in California! The sunshine state is no stranger to gambling, having a record number of participants take part in the huge interstate lottery games such as Powerball and MegaMillions, with the option to purchase tickets to these huge draws online.

However the state could now be opening up to the possibility of legalising online and mobile casino gambling in their jurisdiction, thanks to a unanimous vote in favour of legalisation. The vote was cast by the Assembly Governmental Organisation Committee (GO), supporting the advancement of AB 431, which is the first step in a much longer process towards legalising online poker in the state.

It is regarded as a huge milestone, as previous attempts at drafting an online poker bill had only ever resulted in an informal hearing which never even made it to a voting stage, never mind proposed for legislation.

The move has been much welcomed in the poker world by gaming giants such as Amaya gaming and its subsidiary PokerStars, amongst a host of tribal organisations.

What does this mean for Californian poker players?

At the moment, there are no changes to laws, though those with a keen interest should note that the next stage is for the bill AB 431 to be discussed at a number of hearings, with the final one held in August this year. It will be here that the gaps shall be filled in the bill, providing answers and reassurance over things like fees, taxes, the role of existing racetracks and gambling outlets in legalised online and mobile poker operations.

It will be at the hearings that the final and crucial details of the bill shall be refined, in order to give it the best chance of passing and becoming law. This means that poker players shouldn’t get too excited about the prospect of playing online just yet, however great progress is being made.

However in California specifically, the news of this passing law could mean that there will be a reduction of illegal online gambling facilities, meaning that players won’t have to worry about unregulated gambling causing issues in regards to accounts and winnings. It could also bode well for those tribal organisations within the state who operate under separate tribal legislation, which can often confuse players in terms of legalities, rules and the lack of actual live gaming. It could mean tribes will also be allowed to offer real money gaming in real time.

Could this victory change online gambling in the US?

As this bill has seen a victory in the state of California, making progress towards legalising some aspects of online gambling, it may prompt other US states to follow suit. Hardly any of America’s states allow legalised online gambling, and those which do impose much stricter rules than I other gambling countries – for example in New Jersey, any online gambling brand must be supported by a land-based casino or gambling outlet. This could open the door for more states to discuss the possibility of online gambling, and perhaps prompt states with existing online gambling legislation to re-evaluate their laws and restrictions.

The bill was only introduced in February 2015, and already such quick progress has been made. If all goes well during the remainder of 2015, we could be looking at Californian poker players having access to mobile poker apps by the turn of the year – a no doubt very welcome move for many iGaming brands and players alike.

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