Sen. Rod Wright folded on today's round of Internet poker debate under the dome, pulling his legalization legislation from a committee agenda before it could come up for a vote.
Senate Bill 1463, which would legalize and regulate online poker in California, was scheduled for a vote in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee today. Wright, who chairs the committee, announced to a crowded room at the start of the hearing that he decided to pull the bill from the agenda, sparking an exodus to the hallway.
Despite months of talks and some recent amendments, the legislation faced opposition from major gambling tribes and card rooms, including many that support the idea of legalizing online poker but oppose the specifics in the Inglewood Democrat's bill. The critics say the current version of the bill gives too much power to horse racing and Las Vegas and international gambling interests, while shutting out some California tribes.
Supporters of legalizing Internet poker in general say the move could raise millions for the state in new revenues, arguing that such business and money is currently going to off-shore operations.
Wright spokeswoman Jennifer Hanson said the senator "can't say for certain this bill is still going to move," though she said it was possible that he will consider another round of amendments to the current language.