The state of California has been trying for years to see online poker come to fruition. However, all efforts have failed. For 2017, a new bill has been proposed in an effort to once again legalize and regulate poker gaming in the state. Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer filed the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act on the 17th, a measure that would allow tribes and cardrooms to take part in online poker operations.
The bill, AB 1677, does not include racetracks as operators of iPoker. This has been a sore spot in past legislation attempts as the racetracks want to be involved. With Jones-Sawyer’s measure, a compromise has been put in place that was first used by Adam Gray, a fellow member of Assembly, as reported by OnlinePokerReport.
The bill would see the creation of the California Horse Racing Internet Poker Account,which would cover the racing industry. With this account, the racetracks of the state would be given a yearly stipend which would amount to 95% of the first $60 million earned each fiscal year. The tracks would also be allowed to be a service provider if 50% of revenues earned via the partnership of the operator and the track will go towards the racetrack.
Tribes and cardrooms interested in operating online poker sites would need to apply for licensing. A seven year license would be made available with a $12.5 million price tag. This amount would be credited towards future taxes that are owed by the license holder in regards to gross gaming revenues. Operators will pay a tax rate of 8.847% if the gross gaming revenues are equal to or less than $150 million annually. 10% will be paid if the amount is over $150 million or equal to or less than $250 million. A 12.5% rate will be placed on operators who earn over $250 million but do not exceed the $350 million mark. Any operator who earns more than $350 million a year in gross gaming revenues will have to pay a 15% tax.
Overall, the new legislation has potential to see online poker gaming come to pass in the state of California. It will be interesting to watch as see as the new legislation progresses and how well it is received by those interested in the industry as well as within Legislature.
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