More Delays as California i-Gaming Hearing Postponed

Posted on by Tim Hernandez

More Delays as California i-Gaming Hearing PostponedThe “informational” hearing of Adam Gray´s AB431 was inexplicably removed from the agenda of yesterday´s Government Organization committee meeting.

Last week´s announcement that four i-gaming hearings had been scheduled for California´s Government Organization committee raised hopes that something was actually happening in respect of online gambling in California after months of “intense inactivity”.

The first of those hearings was scheduled to take place yesterday afternoon in State Capitol Room 4202; and, although the Government Organization committee met as scheduled, the hearing into Adam Gray´s AB 431 was taken off the agenda without any reason being given.

Pappas Breaks News on More Delays

The news of the non-hearing was broken by John Pappas – the Executive Director of the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) – who was due to testify to the committee. Pappas used the PPA´s Twitter account to tell the world:

Ironically, an Op-Ed by Pappas declaring that the “Time is Right to Approve, Regulate Online Poker” appeared on Tuesday in the Merced Sun Star – a journal covering the area represented by Assemblyman Adam Gray!

Either Gray did not read Pappas´ article or he was more concerned with the other subjects that were debated at yesterday´s committee meeting – such as what type of fire protection type 1 clothes dryers should have.

What Were They Going to Discuss Anyway?

As we mentioned in last week´s news item announcing the four hearings, the order in which the four proposals for i-gaming in California was scheduled to take place was mystifying. Adam Gray´s AB 431 (and Senator Isadore Hall´s identical SB 278) does not have any content and is regarded as a “shell” Bill to be completed at a later date.

Although the four hearings were described as “informational” – intended to bring new committee members up to speed with the proposals for i-gaming in California – surely it would have made more sense to discuss the proposals in the order they were introduced, rather than scheduling Mike Gatto´s AB 9 and Reggie Jones-Sawyer´s AB 167 for a hearing on July 8th.

By then (July) Assemblyman Gray and Senator Hall might have come up with some proposals to put in their Bills and have something to discuss; or maybe last month´s criticism of Gray and Hall by tribal lobbyist David Quintana – that the two committee chairmen have no intention of seeing i-gaming legislation pass – was spot on!

Next Week? Next Month? Who Knows?

Despite John Pappas optimistically predicting that the hearing into Adam Gray´s AB 431 could take place as early as next week (unlikely as the agenda has already been set), the probability is that there will be no further movement on i-gaming in California until June 24th – when a meeting of the Governmental Organization committee is scheduled to discuss The Legality of Internet Poker – How Prepared is California to Regulate It?.

A scheduled meeting of the committee in May to discuss an Overview of Gambling in California – Legality, Authorization and Regulation is more likely to be used to inform new committee members of the existing state of gambling in California (race tracks, brick and mortar casinos, tribal gaming, etc.), so it is likely that we will be more than half way through the year before any legislative entity actually mentions the words “Internet gambling” in California.

At least it gives the tribal stakeholders more time to reach an agreement on what should or should not be included in any future legislation. But, by then it will be too late to do anything about it!

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