California Poker Bill Amended, PokerStars Out First 5 Years

California by WPPilot2

Online poker in California appears closer than ever but with one big caveat as of this week.

Assemblyman Adam Gray’s long-delayed online poker bill was amended this week to keep out so-called “bad actors” for the first five years of operation in the state.

Bad actors is a term that refers to online poker sites that operated in the USA after the Unlawful Gaming Enforcement Act passed in 2006 and would include industry giant PokerStars.

In previous versions of the bill operators like PokerStars could opt out of the five-year waiting period by paying a one-time fee of $20m to the state. That option has been removed from the bill.

Potential Vote Set for Early Next Week

The amendment is hoped to appease several tribes, including Pechanga band, who have voiced concerns over operators like PokerStars.

Daniel Negreanu 2016MainEvent
PokerStars' Daniel Negreanu

Adam Gray sounded optimistic about the chances of his newly-amended bill passing, according to the LA Times.

Specifically Gray estimated the deal would secure a two-thirds vote in the assembly and will be fairly well received in the Senate.

The bill was also amended to change the tax rate for online poker sites in California.

Previously there would have been a sliding scale of 8.64% to 15% based on gross annual gaming revenue but the new bill would feature a flat 10% tax across the board.

A vote could potentially occur on Monday.

If the bill finally goes through it would be in sharp contrast to New Jersey, where PokerStars not only operates but currently controls approximately 40% of the market.

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