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California State Poker Laws & Regulation to Know

If you look at the history of California regarding gambling you can tell that there is a push to make online poker a legal activity. The effort is still ongoing and it has been for some years now. While this is a matter which is being handled at the moment it doesn’t mean it’s made legal yet. If we’re being sincere, we would tell you that playing poker in The Golden State is neither here nor there when it comes to it being legal. You could also say that the players aren’t in great danger, but the same couldn’t have been saying of bankers and operators. This is the principal reason why many residents of this US state play poker online and have no issues doing it. This statement, begs the question we have below.

Is it Legal to Play Poker in California?

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You could say that poker had no issues in this state whatsoever. It’s been legal since forever as many people see it. But, what’s closer to the truth is that it was never outlawed, which is something that most people offset. This game has been around for a while, and in this country, the need to make something about it first came around in the mid-1980s when the first regulations were installed, and followed by state-run licensing. If you are a big fan of this entertaining game, then you probably know that licensed poker rooms can be found on every corner. The stakes at the tables vary, but you can find those that bet low and those that go for the biggest stakes. As you can see, California and poker have do have a history together, but we only scratched the surface. Let’s move on and see what will happen with this state and regulation of online poker.

Are There Regulations Incoming?

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There’s a love/hate relationship between The Golden State and this beautiful game at moments, as you can see. The moratorium on card games and new casinos is still in power and we can’t know when they will be allowed. We can only hope that it will happen in the near future. On the other hand, we can expect some changes in the field of regulations. Since 2008, hard work has been put into online gambling bills. Up until now, they haven’t had too much success, but things could change in the coming years. Those who propose those bills are still going strong and show no signs of giving up.

One of the biggest issues in this department is of course the legitimization. If the online version would be legitimized, it would be easier for players to play, invest, and withdraw money. Of course, there’s a small matter of tribal casinos that have no business allowing for this to happen. It is in their interest to reduce online gambling, and force people to visit their places at land-based locations. The middle ground is being found in the fact that there’s a bill being pushed that would allow tribal casinos to be the first to go online in the Sunshine state. At the moment there’s no true development in this matter, but once the whole situation with coronavirus is handled we could expect moving forward. After all, people being trapped in their homes due to various lockdowns created a renaissance of online casinos.

History of Online Poker in California

Source: freepik.com

In this paragraph, we are going to go through some of the most important events regarding the legalization of this beautiful game. California Gambling Control Commission has had a handful of issues to resolve, starting from the Pechanga and PokerStars divide. While we can expect one of the upcoming years to be the next big one for poker, the one that left a significant mark on it was 2015. We say this because four bills were introduced that year and they are Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s AB 9, Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer’s AB 167, Assemblyman Adam Gray’s AB 431, and State Senator Isadore Hall III’s SB 267. Nothing came out of these bills.

In 2016 we saw a great change as AB 2836 passed a committee vote, but was still disapproved by tribes that disagreed with the PokerStars pass. Tribes of Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians made sure that this bill is fast forgotten too. In 2017 we saw Reginald Jones-Sawyer’s AB1677 bill that proposed giving the rights to online poker to the tribes. While there wasn’t too much opposition for this bill, it was yet another one that failed. The next year was the one that had nothing major happening regarding poker and legalization, which was strange considering that it was the tenth anniversary of the first attempts to make a change. Fast forward two years, and we still haven’t had a resolve of this situation, and no one can be precise regarding the date.

So, as we said at the beginning of this article, it’s hard to tell what The Rock is cooking when it comes to The Eldorado State and poker. If you look at California State Constitution, gambling is illegal. But, some forms of it are allowed, especially those controlled by Native American tribes, and we’re talking about Cardrooms, Tribal casinos, a state-run lottery, bingo, and horse race wagering. At the moment all legislation is conducted by Gambling Control Act (GCA), and this is what you should be aware of before indulging in gambling on this territory. If you want to be completely sure of your rights when playing this game on this territory you’ll just have to wait a bit longer before everyone is agreed on how to regulate it on this spoil. So far, there’s no solution in sight that will be acceptable to all parties involved.

Written by Marinelle Adams

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