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Efforts to Legalize Online Poker in California Quashed For Now

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Sep/18/2010
Online Poker California

 

Following the indictment of California Senator Roderick Wright this week, lobbying efforts to have intrastate online poker legalized in that state have effectively been put to rest this legislative period.

Wright was jailed and subsequently released with a $45,000 bail having been set.

There were eight felony charges leveled against the California Senator including voter fraud and perjury. If convicted of all counts, he faces up to 8 years and three months in prison.  Wright has been ordered back to court October 8, just one week before he is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the European i-Gaming Congress and Expo.  It is unclear as to whether Wright will be able to travel outside the U.S. at that time.

The California Senator was the main power behind lobbyists efforts to legalize online poker in the state.  Wright would no longer be part of those efforts.

In June, news reports suggested that amendments were being pushed by the intrastate lobby group Poker Voters of America in order to appease tribes over state Sen. Rodney Wright's S.B. 1485 bill that stalled in June.

“Obviously now the tribes, who are opposed to this legislation, have further ammunition to use with Wright’s indictment,” one source tells Gambling911.com.

Opposition by tribes and card clubs hamstrung a vote or full debate in the Governmental Organization Committee that Wright leads, the Desert Sun reported just last week.

The state of California apparently didn’t get the memo regarding a push for additional amendments however.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg suggested that discussions related to legalized online poker in the state would not be part of any budgetary discussions.

“The chatter you're hearing is from those who are going to profit from Internet gaming,'' she said. “It's not a legislative leader conversation; it is not part of the budget negotiations.”

John Ferrera, chief of staff for Sen. Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, also advised the Desert Sun that he had not heard of these efforts either. Ducheny is a representative on the budget advisory committee.

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Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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