While online poker will not be legalized in the state of California in 2015, legislators seem to have moved on to consider another online gambling option. On Thursday, a bill involving fantasy sports regulation was amended since its introduction in February and is now being pushed by legislators in the state.
Assemblyman Adam Gray is the author of an online poker bill within the state that was introduced this year but did not move forward after the legislative session ended last week. Gray is now pushing the DFS regulation, perhaps taking another avenue in which to get the state started in online gambling. California has seen many attempts at passing online poker legislation, but attempts have never been successful.
Several states are currently looking at passing regulation for daily fantasy sports websites, perhaps because conservatives look at such activity differently than casino gaming and are more willingly to agree to legislation. Michigan and Kansas join the list along with California to have considered regulating such activities.
The bill in California for daily fantasy sports does not have a tax rate yet but would use a portion of revenues generated to benefit the residents of the state. As of right now, citizens are taking part in DFS with unlicensed operators which is considered unsafe by legislators. If passed, players would have to be at minimum 21 years old to take part in daily fantasy sites.
Information on the bill states that an operator who is licensed to offer DFS would have to pay an annual regulatory fee which would go towards the Fantasy Sports Fund. This fund would be established by the State Treasury. The Fantasy Sports Fund would be appropriated to cover the cost of license oversight, state regulation, consumer protection and other purposes in relation to the bill.
Every operator would also have to pay a one-time fee for licensing which would be placed into the General Fund. This amount has yet to be announced. The license fee is then credited against quarterly fees which are equivalent to a percentage (not released) of the operator’s gross income that can be attributed to the operation of the website in the state of California.
DFS and online poker will be discussed as soon as the 2016 legislative session begins in California. It will be interesting to see if poker takes a backseat or will the state be able to move forward with both options, passing legislation and becoming a part of the blossoming industry.
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