California online poker bill to be amended

A bill to legalise online poker in California faces amendments, despite  it was passed by a vote of 18-0 through the California Assembly Governmental Organisation.

US.- Bill AB 2863 to legalise online poker in California, which passed by a vote of 18-0 through the California Assembly Governmental Organisation in April, is facing a series of new amendments. If these amendments are approved, they would enable operators like PokerStars, which exited the market in April 2011, to apply for a licence in California.

David Fried, California gaming attorney, posted the amendments, which are focused on the clarification of provisions connected to the bill’s original incarnation, including the issue of tax rates, license fees and “bad actor” clause. As per “bad actor” clause any operator which continued to accept online wagers after December 2011 from US-based players will not be eligible to receive a license to operate in California.

Operators who are able to prove that key individuals who ignored the cut off were “no longer affiliated with the applicant” or if the wagers in question “occurred within a reasonable time period in order to cease those activities in the United States” could still qualify for a license under the proposed amendments.

The amendments proposed by Fried include increasing the licence fee from US$10m to US$12.5m, as well as making the tax rate operators are required to pay dependent on the combined gross gaming revenue. On the other hand, bill AB 2863 would only legalise online poker, no other casino games should be passed into law. A final version of the bill will be submitted for an Assembly hearing this month.