04/28/2016 2:19PM

California Internet poker bill moves forward


Legislation that would legalize Internet poker in California and provide California racing interests with a $60 million annual subsidy for the loss of exclusive online gambling passed an Assembly committee on Wednesday without opposition.

The Assembly Government Organization Committee approved the measure by a vote of 19-0 and forwarded the legislation to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. A date for the next hearing was not available on Thursday morning.

Assembly Bill 2863 would allow Internet poker licenses to be awarded in the state and dictates that racetracks must receive compensation of at least $60 million each year from license holders.

Currently, horse racing has the only form of legal online gambling in California through account-wagering providers, a status that would change with the development of legalized Internet poker. The $60 million would be divided primarily between racetracks and horsemen in the form of purses.

Any potential vote on the legislation by the Assembly or Senate is unlikely to occur for several months. The bill would require the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown.

The bill has the support of several racetracks, horsemen’s organizations, and labor unions. Backers say the bill would allow California racing to compete with other states that gain revenue for purses through casinos.