A bill that would legalize Internet poker in California passed a state Assembly committee by a 20-0 vote April 27.

The legalization of Internet poker would open a new revenue source to San Diego County’s American Indian bands. Eight of them run brick-and-mortar casinos on their San Diego County reservations and at least one has prepared a poker website. In addition, the Santa Ysabel band, which closed its brick-and-mortar casino, has been working to build a poker business where games are conducted exclusively online.

Assemblyman Adam Gray, a Democrat from Merced, is carrying the Internet poker bill, Assembly Bill 431. Gray chairs the Governmental Organization committee, which passed the bill.

Bo Mazzetti, tribal chairman for the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, said the Rincon community is “optimistic that this is the year for Internet poker in California.” After five years of debate, now is the time to act, Mazzetti said in a prepared statement.

“We look forward to the informational hearings and discussing the issues in greater detail. More importantly, we look forward to finding solutions to the sticking points and common ground through compromise.”

Caesars Entertainment operates the Harrah’s Southern California resort under contract to the Rincon band on the 6,000-acre Rincon reservation near Valley Center.

The Assembly’s Governmental Organization Committee referred the bill to the Appropriations Committee.