California jailCalifornia Online Poker Lawmaker Sentenced To Three Months In Jail

State Senator Roderick Wright, longtime champion of online poker in California, has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for perjury and voter fraud. The 62-year-old also announced that he would resign from office after threats that he would be expulsed should he choose not to do so.

Wright was convicted of lying about his location of residence in order to represent a district where he spent little time. The Senator had claimed to be renting a house in Inglewood, but in reality, was found to be living in the more upscale neighborhood of Baldwin Hills. Wright stated that he believed he was within the law when he filled out candidacy documents and claimed he never meant to deceive voters.

Laying the groundwork for online poker

Wright has introduced several bills during his time in office in an attempt to legalize online poker in the Golden State. In 2012, he backed SB 1463 along with Darrell Steinberg, but the bill failed to gain traction. In December of that year, he tried again with SB 51, a bill which would only authorize intrastate iPoker. Due to the state’s budget crisis, the legislation was introduced as an urgency statute and would have been put into law immediately had it been successful.

Support for the horse racing industry

The senator was always sure to include the powerful horse racing industry in his legislation. The recent bills by Lou Correa and Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer excluded the horse tracks and were tabled, partly due to pressure from that industry. Wright’s inclusion of the ponies now seems prudent, and insiders believe a deal is currently being struck between the horse tracks and the state’s Indian tribes which will foster a successful online poker bill.

As part of his sentence, Mr. Wright will complete 1,500 hrs. of community service, a three-year probation period, and is forbidden from holding elective office again. The senator’s criminal case is one of three involving California democratic state senators which will cost the party its super majority in the legislature.