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California Dreamin'

Poker group promotes golden state online gaming bill

When a California gaming tribe and several card clubs dropped the flag promoting a bill that would allow Internet poker several months ago, the Poker Voters of America picked it up.

One suggestion the group floated as a way to sweeten the pot for casinos and gaming tribes that opposed it was to create a mitigation fund that would pay $100,000 to casinos and card clubs that might be affected by competition from online poker. Another is to increase the number of those who are allowed to operate online poker operations from three to five.

Melanie Brenner, executive director of Poker Voters of America, said that her group is in the fight for the duration. “We’re not giving up for this year. We still want to try to move this year if at all possible, so we’re looking at ways to include this in a budget play. We are one of the few revenue bills available. It’s a long shot, but I still think there’s an opportunity to be part of that mix.”

Brenner’s group argues that the state legislature should move quickly to create an online framework before Congress acts first and takes away the initiative.

“There is no federal bill. We’ve been waiting how many years for a federal bill. If the federal bill comes, great. One of the reasons we came into existence is we saw no movement on the federal level and don’t see any movement on the federal level soon. We needed to come up with something. This is an alternative to create a regulated system within the U.S.,” she said, according to Matthew Kredell of Poker News.

Representative Barney Frank, chairman of the power House banking committee, has been trying to pass such federal legislation for several years. Brenner maintains that her group’s pressure will make Congress act sooner rather than later.