Online Poker Partners with Horse Racing for New California Bill

California by WPPilot

California Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Adam Gray are behind a new online poker bill that has pundits cautiously optimistic about the future of the game in the state.

AB 2863 would legalize online poker and provide a revenue stream for the horse racing industry in California.

Racing operators in California have long represented an obstacle for efforts to legalize online poker in the state but AB 2863 would see up to $60m per year taken from online poker and folded back into racing.

No Bad Actor Clause in Bill


One of the more contentious issues surrounding online poker legislation has been the addition of so-called bad-actor clauses that would penalize sites such as PokerStars or Full Tilt, which operated in California without a license in the mid-2000s.

The new bill has no such restrictions and it appears that former heavyweights would be able to apply for licenses in the state. Of course this is probably less of an issue since PokerStars finally secured a license in New Jersey.

Interestingly AB 2863 would be limited to just poker and wouldn’t allow any casino-style games where the house backs the game. In fact the bill would also ban any poker games that are pure chance, such as auto all-in tournaments.

In addition the bill would make it a felony to play on unlicensed, off-shore online poker sites.

AB 2863 now needs approval from two-thirds of the Assembly to move to the senate. The bill would then need to pass the California senate and finally the Governor would make an executive decision on the legislation.

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