Assemblyman Gatto gives up on Californian online poker bill

3 July 2015

Assemblyman Mike Gatto has announced that he is to give up on attempting to pass a bill that would legalise online poker in the US state of California, claiming there is not yet a consensus on the issue.

As reported by iGaming Business, Gatto introduced AB 9 in December of last year, with the bill designed to create a framework for the state’s online poker industry.

In a statement released at the time, Gatto said that the bill would provide all participants, from players to website operators, with “certainty and security that will legitimise the game, support locally-owned businesses, and keep much-needed revenue in the state”.

AB 9 would limit operator licences to tribal casinos and card rooms, while a ‘bad actor’ clause would exclude companies and individuals involved in US-facing online gambling after December 31, 2006.

Despite the bill having received the backing of various online poker supporters in the state, Gatto has now announced he will not go ahead with a scheduled hearing next week.

However, Gatto did note that the bill has an ‘urgency’ clause, which means it can be resuscitated in the future.

“I believe this is the right thing to do at this point because there is no consensus on the issue yet,” Gatto said in a statement.

“My bill has an ‘urgency’ clause, and thus it can be resuscitated at any time.

“Over the past three years, I have met with representatives from nearly every software provider, card room, gaming tribe, racetrack and internet poker operator who has an opinion on the subject.

“I gave my word to both supporters and opponents of AB 9 that my goal was consensus, and that I would not move forward with anything that achieved less than that.

“I will continue working to craft legislation on which the interested parties can agree, and which is good for the people and Treasury of the state of California.”

Related article: New bill put forward for online poker in California