California Assemblyman Jerry Hill has denied sponsoring online poker legislation on behalf of Poker Voters of America (PVA), in response to publication of what was described as a “completely inaccurate” story this week by a British egaming website.

Capitol Weekly, the newspaper of California government and politics, quoted PVA executive director Patrick Dorinson, who said that the confusion came about as a result of a “lack of understanding of the admittedly complex legislative system in California”.

The story in question was published Wednesday and claimed that PVA president Melanie Brenner had confirmed that the lobby group was introducing a draft online poker bill in the California legislature sponsored by Hill.

“This is just a misunderstanding,” Dorinson told Capitol Weekly. “As Winston Churchill said, the only thing separating the British and American people is a common language.”

California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine

According to Capitol Weekly, former California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine gave Hill a 32-page draft proposal which Hill subsequently had submitted to the Legislative Counsel in order for them to review and rewrite it in a format closer to what the Legislature would actually look at. Hill stressed however that he did not do this on behalf of PVA, but instead just wanted to make sure there was no confusion around the intentions of the language.

“We didn’t submit it for them. We submitted it for me. In order to evaluate an idea, you have to have language to look at,” said Hill.

Levine also confirmed the he has been consulting with PVA, but added that the egaming story was “completely inaccurate.”

At present California has two online poker bills to consider. Senate Bill 40, sponsored by Senator Lou Correa, would allow certain tribes to run online intrastate poker with a percentage of revenues channelled back to the State. It has the support of two tribes, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, but is opposed by most other Indian gaming tribes and other lobby groups.

The second bill sponsored by Senator Roderick Wright (SB 45) seeks to allow three ‘hub’ operators to offer intrastate online poker but also leaves the door open for other games to be introduced. The Wright bill represents a second attempt by the Assemblyman to move forward online poker legislation, after his first attempt stalled in committee last June.

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