Jones-Sawyer Delaying Inevitable With August Hearing for AB 167

Posted By James Guill on July 16, 2015

Reggie Jones-Sawyer has pulled a Monty Python and with his recent actions declared that AB 167 is “not dead yet.” According to EGR North America, Jones-Sawyer will reschedule his hearing on AB 167 for sometime in August.

While the exact date of the hearing is unknown, it does show that Jones-Sawyer is still hopeful that online poker can pass in 2015. Unfortunately, his bill has some key problems that will prevent it from moving forward.

Hearing Expected to Take Place Late August

Reggie Jones-Sawyer pulled AB 167 from last week’s Assembly Governmental Organization Committee hearing and most figured that the issue was dead for the remainder of the year.

Now is seems that Jones-Sawyer has decided to move forward with his bill and will have it heard by the Committee sometime in August. The state legislature is currently on summer recess and will not return until August 17.

This means that the hearing will take place sometime in late August. However, unless something miraculous happens during that hearing, odds are it will have little impact.

September 11 Deadline Looms and AB 167 has Problems

When the state legislature returns on August 17, there will be exactly four weeks left to get an online poker bill passed. Frankly, AB 167 isn’t going to be that bill.

First, the bill has zero support from the Pechanga Coalition thanks to the structure of the bill. Under AB 167, both bad actors (PokerStars) and the horse racing industry would be able to participate.

The Pechanga will not agree to either proposition, so the odds of this bill moving forward are the same as Daniel Negreanu winning the 2015 WSOP Main Event. He busted out in 11th on Tuesday.

For those with hopes of AB 431 passing, major work has to be done between now and September 11 for that to pass as well. The bill is still a shell and again the Pechanga oppose this due to the lack of language on bad actors and race tracks.

At present, lawmakers are in a Catch 22 situation. If they include bad actors and race tracks, they alienate the Pechanga and they will block. If they don’t include the horse racing industry, the governor has guaranteed a veto.

Unless a last minute resolution materializes, online poker just isn’t going to happen this year. At this point, the best use of everyone’s time would be to work towards a compromise on a 2016 bill and forego prolonging the inevitable for this year’s bills.

Bring out your dead! Then throw AB 167 and AB 431 on the wagon.

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James Guill

Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

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