California Senate leader co-sponsors Internet gambling bill


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A proposal to allow Californians to gamble in games, including poker, on state-sanctioned Internet sites gained new momentum when state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg signed on as the co-author of legislation introduced Friday.

The bill would allow gambling firms to apply to the state Department of Justice for 10-year licenses on condition they ante up $30 million in licensing fees for each website.


Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, joined Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) in introducing SB 1463 on the last day for legislation to be proposed for this year.

‘We believe that there are millions of Californians already gambling illegally on the Internet,’’ said Mark Hedlund, a spokesman for Steinberg. ‘This bill sets up some standards and regulations and consumer protections.’'

Senate President Pro Tem Steinberg also believes that the bill potentially could bring the state coffers hundreds of millions of dollars.

A coalition of card clubs and Indian casinos has been trying to get Internet poker legalized in the state for years, but previous bills by Wright stalled in the Legislature after other tribes objected that websites would hurt the business of their casinos.


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento