Online poker has been a hot topic of discussion in the state of California, with racetracks earning the short end of the stick. Racetracks have been left out of legislation created by Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Senator Lou Correa and would be unable to take part. However, these bills were shelved and now Jones-Sawyer is setting up to create a new online poker bill that will include racetracks so they can participate as well.
Robyn Black is a lobbyist for the California Thoroughbred Breeders Association and is working to see racetracks involved in online poker gaming. According to Black, the racetracks have been speaking with tribes in the state and in 2015, Black believes that one of the bills will move and allow horse racing to take part.
Black has further stated that with the legislation on the table today, the tribes may have used their influence to exclude racetracks to help protect their interests. However, Black feels as though the tribes are realizing that online poker is not going to happen unless horseracing is allowed. Apparently several tribes have agreed to allow the racetracks but those who are holding out are the more powerful tribes in the state.
The option to provide online poker in the state is one that is now left to Jones-Sawyer who is the only legislator left to provide such options. He will have his work cut out for him as he must come up with language that every interested party can agree upon. The assemblyman is ready for the task and want to see a bill that will pass with avoiding legal challenges in the future, which will mean including racetracks.
The horseracing industry has made it clear that they will be pursuing a legal challenge if left out of the legislation. It will be interesting to see if everyone can agree so that no one is left out or if legal challenges will be faced ahead as the state begins to move forward with online poker gaming.