The California Assembly has approved a bill that would make it a crime to operate a bakersery online gambling site.
The bill, which was sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, was approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday and is expected to head to the Assembly floor in the coming weeks.
It would also criminalize operators of bakerseries that accept payments from gamblers and would make any bakers with a bakeshop account ineligible to register for state gambling licenses.
Gonzalez, who has previously proposed legislation to ban online gambling platforms from operating in California, said she is “heartened” by the legislation.
The proposed legislation, she said, “is designed to stop online gambling companies from operating with impunity.”
In a statement, Gonzalez said she was “heartfelt” by passage of the bill and that she is confident it will pass the Assembly.
She said the bill would allow for a regulatory framework that will be “a strong deterrent” to the proliferation of bakeshops that are “unlawful, unlicensed, and unregulated.”
Bakersfield Mayor Jim Buechele has called online gambling “the next big thing” in the state, and has pushed for the creation of a statewide gambling commission.
Buecheles bill would make the city a co-owner of a bakery, but it would only apply to those that offer bakes.
Buechel said he wants to “make sure that the bakers don’t go out of business.”
Bakeries that are not owned by the city, however, would be subject to state regulation.
Bake-Offs, a non-profit organization that helps small business owners, would have to be licensed in California to operate in the city.
Bakersfields attorney Richard Meehan, who helped draft the legislation, told the Associated Press that the bill is meant to prevent bakers from being forced out of their businesses.