AB 2863, an online poker bill submitted by Assemblyman Adam Gray of California has now gained the support of the state horse racing industry. Nine leaders in the industry wrote a letter to Gray, pledging their support of the measure. The bill is set for a hearing tomorrow within the California Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization.
The language of the bill would exclude racetracks from participating in the online poker market but would give the horse racing industry $60 million each year as compensation for not taking part, if online poker is legalized and regulated within the state.
According to the letter sent to Gray, support for the measure is dependent on key elements including that the $60 million stays in the bill and this amount should be considered a baseline number. The horse racing industry does not want to negotiate this amount.
In the letter, the horse racing industry leaders noted that tax rates are blank on the bill yet 15% as well as a $15 million licensing fee was in an earlier draft of the measure. Since the $60 million for the horse racing industry is dependent on fees and taxes, the industry leaders want to see these numbers decided upon to allow the industry to see that the $60 million will be made available.
In the letter, it stated that the bill needs to be amended to confirm that if the $60 million minimum is not fully funded within a given year, that a carryover would take place in the following year or years with the first dollars from online poker fees and tax revenue going to the industry.
With the support of the horse racing industry, it marks a major breakthrough with online poker in the state of California. Tribal operators, in the majority, have been opposed to horse race tracks being involved in the online poker industry within the state. This has been a major point of contention within the state. With the support now in place, online poker legislation may be closer than ever to passing in California.
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