California is in a financial bind. It is staring in the face of a $19 billion budget shortfall by the end of this fiscal year (2011). The urgency in producing revenue in the state can be reflected in the introduction of a SB 1485 Friday that will authorize the creation of an online poker system within California.
This bill, introduced by Senator Rod Wright, leader of the Senate Committee with oversight for gambling, proposes a plan to award three California based operators with contracts lasting five years to run online poker sites for state residents only.
Again emphasizing the need for not only tax revenue in the state but tax revenue now, the bill as been tagged with as an urgency measure, this means that if passed and signed off by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, this bill will go into effect immediately.
SB 1485 will be presented to California legislators June 1st which coincidentally is the day the UIGEA regulations that “prevent payments to businesses in connection with unlawful Internet gambling” go into effect nationwide.
Last year there was another bill on the table in California to allow for internet poker sponsored by the Morongo’s. That bill would have established only one online site run by a group of tribes and card rooms. This new bill allows for a more competitive environment.
There are a lot of eyes on what will be happening in California this week as other states looking at budget shortfalls such as Florida and New Jersey are already looking at their own internet gambling bills.