A California online poker bill was unveiled by Assemblyman Mike Gatto earlier this week. The bill – AB 9 – has similarities to a previous unified tribal bill pushed during the last legislative session that eventually died.
AB 9 continues the tradition of blocking intellectual property and individuals with ties to unregulated online gaming after December 31, 2006. There is language that addressed the acquisition of PokerStars by Amaya Gaming to exclude any purchased asset, claiming that this would not be a way to legitimize such brands or software in California.
The Morongo Band of Mission Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, California’s three largest card clubs – Commerce, the Hawaiian Gardens and the Bicycle Casino – and the Amaya Gaming Group, which owns and operates PokerStars, clearly oppose such language.
The group distributed a press release today to voice its opposition. The statement asserts “AB 9 is a rehash of previously unsuccessful proposals”. The full statement is included at the bottom of this article.
Other Changes in AB 9 From Previous Bills
Players would be required to open accounts in person at licensed card clubs, tribal casinos, or satellite offices. First deposits must also be made at these locations. Large withdrawals must be made in person at one of these establishments.
The bill also included language that would allow it to be later amended to move the industry from intrastate to interstate or even internationally if permitted to do so through Congressional action.
Full PokerStars Coalition Statement
As a coalition, we are committed to working with legislators and our other partners in the gaming community to pass Internet poker legislation in 2015 that establishes a vibrant, competitive marketplace, provides superior consumer protections, and ensures that the state receives a reasonable return. We are convinced that the various interests must work together if we are to be successful in establishing a well-regulated environment and the best-in-class Internet poker industry for California.
Unfortunately, AB 9 is a rehash of previously unsuccessful proposals. Any bill that seeks to establish artificial competitive advantages for some, while denying Californians the best online poker experiences, will only serve to divide the community and will be opposed by our coalition.