The Latest on California Poker Legislation

For years, American gambling fanatics have wished for more legalization of gambling websites in the United States. Senators Roderick Wright and Darrell Steinberg cosponsored Senate Bill 1463 in February 2012 that would legalize and regulate poker websites in the state of California. You can learn more about it below, and find out if you will be able to play online legal poker in California.

It's no secret that the entire country is in a financial crisis. In 2012, Senators Wright and Steinberg estimated that online gambling could add $200 million in tax revenues in just one year. Obviously, this would be an incredible surge in the state's struggling economy, which had a budget deficit of $16 in 2012. It was proposed that brick and mortar card clubs and federally recognized tribes would be allowed to apply for a license. It would also allow the state to opt into federal legislation should the U.S. government legalize online gambling in the future. There were many hurdles both people and licensees would have to jump before people could play online legal poker in California.

Similarly, such California poker legislation would take age and criminal backgrounds seriously. Individuals would have to prove their identities and ages as being at least 21 with their Social Security number, which would also help to track gambling for tax purposes. It would also outline responsible gaming practices so that people could set win and loss limits. These tools would help to eliminate reckless gambling and help people maintain their bankrolls.

The licensing application could cost up to $5 million depending on the casino's size and past gaming history. Licensees would then pay the remainder of their deposit of up to $30 million. Of course, the licensees would need to pay a tax of 10% as well. Once the site grossed $300 million, the casino would pay taxes every month. Licensees, affiliates and employees would have to participate in a background check, which would require fingerprinting and a criminal background check.

Unlawful gaming sites would not be able to enter the marketplace if and when this should take effect. The idea was to ban online poker rooms that had accepted Californian players after 2006. It would've kept these rooms from these sites off the market, as well as barred them from using their brand name in the state.

Unfortunately, it just didn't pass. In fact, no serious discussions about these ideas ever really took place. One of the main reasons why it didn't pass is because the state felt they would not be able to afford the same taxes as the more lucrative card clubs in the event that it was legalized. Three subsequent state poker legislations were introduced in 2013 that also did not pass. As of right now it is not possible to play online legal poker in California. Legislators hope that Senate Bill 1463 will serve as a template for those that may come up in the future. Should it ever be put into place, players will get to gamble responsibly and legally, as well as give the economy a much-needed boost.