New Bill in California Seeks to Regulate Online Poker (Again)Published February 22, 2016 by Elana K
California State Representative Adam Gray has once again introduced a bill, AB-2863, that would see the regulation of online poker. A date for the hearing has not yet been set.
California State Representative Adam Gray has once again introduced a bill that would see the regulation of online poker. This is approximately the 12th bill introduced over the past nine years in attempt to regulate online gambling in the Golden State.
Gray issued another bill in April of 2015, AB-431, which was not passed due to minority opposition as well as tribal disagreements. His new bill, AB-2863, is an amended version of his previous bill, and the two are similar but contain some key differences.
Comparing the new and old bill
In Gray's new bill, California’s racetracks would not participate in California’s regulated online poker market - in return, they would receive as much as $60 million annually, taken from the state’s poker revenues. This amendment isimportant , because it seeks to mollify the tribal factions that insist on exclusivity over most of California’s potential online gambling market.
Another amendment is the elimination of the “bad actors” clause, which was included in the original bill in order to prevent certain operators from being allowed to offer gambling services. These operators are those who continued to offer online gambling after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed in 2006.
In Gray’s new bill, the “bad actors” clause is left out and replaced by a general statement that suitable operators will need to be approved by state regulators.
Both the new and old bill contain a clause that would make playing poker on unlicensed, out-of-state of offshore sites a felony, something which has never been illegal in California. Players are not likely to be happy with this inclusion, but if the state offers enough quality, regulated sites, it shouldn’t be a problem.
The long road to regulation
The biggest obstacle, as of now, are the tribal factions, and whether they will agree to what is being offered. The good news on that front is that the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians has already issued a statement in support of Gray’s amended bill.
As of now, a hearing for the bill has not yet been scheduled.