In the United States, besides Nevada, one of the largest hubs for playing poker is the State of California. First off, brick 'n mortar poker rooms are legal in California. Secondly, with such a close proximity to Las Vegas, the aura and allure of casino and poker gambling is ever-present. With such a large number of Californians frequenting the poker rooms, it's no surprise that legislation calling for a study of online poker in the Golden State has been recently introduced.
Assembly Bill 2026 was penned by Democrat Assemblyman, Lloyd Levine, and has already been unanimously forwarded by the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee (AGOC) to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If the bill is approved, the results of a comprehensive study suggesting the need to regulate online poker could be in the hands of the California Legislature by the end of June, 2009.
I know I may be getting ahead of myself by assuming the study will indeed suggest that regulating online poker is the best option for California. But come on, let's face it. The plain, simple truth is that regulating online poker is a win-win situation for California. According to Rod Blonien, who is from the Poker Voters of America (PVAP) and who testified before the AGOC, the top card rooms in California are getting maxed out and turning players away, who simply go home to play poker online.
Of course, Blonien has a good point. However, Blonien's motivations are questionable, if you ask me. For his testimony before the AGOC, Blonien (and PVAP President, Jim Tabilio) served as a representative of the top brick 'n mortar poker rooms in California, including Hollywood Park and Commerce Club. In other words, he spoke on their behalf. Furthermore, considering the talks to create an "intrastate cardroom", the regulation of online poker in California could very well amount to online poker room counterparts to all the land-based poker rooms currently in operation.
So while regulation does not guarantee that foreign online poker rooms and online casinos will be permitted to do business in California, it would nonetheless liberalize the industry to a certain extent and perhaps pave the way for more liberalization and for other State's to do the same. Even with the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act in place, proponents of AB 2026 say that launching intrastate online poker rooms would be permissible under Federal law.