Per Head: California Poker Bill Deadline

Online-pokerThe potential price per head earnings from online poker in California has hit another snag. Senate Bill 1463, by Democratic Sen. Rod Wright of Inglewood, would let Californians play poker at state sanctioned sites but with only a little more than a week left of session, it seems to be a long shot.

A one-time price per head of $30 million would be required for a license, which would be credited toward the monthly 10-percent tax on gross web-poker revenue, but not everyone would be able to get a license.

However, the California Tribal Business Alliance has been the biggest opponent of the bill that was going to help the economically challenged state.

The group sent a letter to lawmakers which read: “Last minutes, a back-room brokered deal on an issue that is vital to our tribal governments is the type of action that we must, and will, oppose until the final minute of this legislative session.”

California has poker available in live betting settings of land based Indian casinos.

The problem is that an August 23rd deadline is forcing lawmakers into a sudden rush, which is exactly what the coalition of California Indian Tribes doesn’t want. The different groups remain split on how they wish online gambling to move forward.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has been a big supporter of the bill, but even he has his doubts.

“Three-to-one odds that that bill has a 50 percent chance of passage,” the Sacramento Democrat quiped in a powwow with reporters earlier this week. “And I would bet the under.”

“I’m willing to help see it through if there’s a bit little more of a consensus,” Steinberg said. “We’re going to probably give it one more shot in the next week or so to see if there’s a way to break the logjam.”

The Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians supports the bill, and Steven Stallings, a Rincon council member, believes there is still a possibility of a deal before the session ends.and the Rincon tribe is trying to work out acceptable bill language with the California Online Poker Association.