A Glance at California Legislation

5 April 1999
Center stage on the Net gambling prohibition front has belonged to Arizona Senator Jon Kyl since he introduced his bill in 1997. Much less conspicuously there are a few legislators here and there trying to pass laws on the state level as well. Last week IGN looked at a bills being considered in the New York State Senate; this week, it's off to California.

California State Senator Tim Leslie introduced SB 777 in February 1997 as an amendment to Section 337j of the Penal Code. In short, it's purpose was to update a law that prohibits gambling using wire communications. The significant difference between SB 777 and the Kyl Bill was that SB 777, sort of a "Kyl Light" piece of legislation, made Internet betting activity a misdemeanor as opposed to a crime punishable with up to four years in prison. The bill died in May 1997 and hasn't shown signs of resurfacing.

Records show that the bill was likely killed for the same reasons that the Kyl Bill was sent back for major adjustments. In his bill analysis, Senate Committee on Public Safety Chairman John Vasconcellos criticized it for not including exemption for Internet providers. He also warned that it might prohibit the use of the Internet for giving away awards and prizes for which nothing of value is bet, and addressed some of the jurisdictional issues that have been indicated by critics of the Kyl Bill. For a closer look at SB 777, visit http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_777&sess=PREV&house=B.