California iPoker Efforts Over For 2016August 31, 2016 11:53 am
California’s legislative session comes to a close on August 31st, and so does its chances of passing any online poker legislation this year. Despite all the ongoing discussions held on the issue, 2016 now marks the ninth year in which California‘s disparate gambling parties have failed to reach an appropriate compromise and get an online poker deal done.
On the plus side, serious progress has been made this year to appease Californian tribal and horse racing interests by offering the racing industry around $60 million per year for being excluded from any potential iPoker market.
A huge sticking point, however, proved to be the move to try and prohibit those online operators who flaunted the UIGEA between 2006 and 2011 from being granted a state license. The world’s biggest online poker room, PokerStars, was central to this issue with those in favor of PokerStars’ inclusion including the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) and a group of tribes led by the Pechanga and Agua Caliente on the one side, while firmly entrenched in the nay camp was the core of Californian’s other tribal interest.
A compromise was subsequently suggested in which any so-called “bad actors” would be required to pay an inflated $20 million fee for a license, or else wait five years before making an application. Nevertheless, the opposing tribal group still opposed the proposal as they believed PokerStars would have no difficulty stumping up the money in order to gain early entry into the market.
Both parties on either side of the argument subsequently accused one another of obstructing progress on iPoker legislation. After opposing tribes suggested bad actors should have to pay a $60 million fine, and stay out of the market for 10 years, Assemblymember Adam Gray, the sponsor of AB 2863, then proposed an automatic 5 year ban on bad actors such as PokerStars.
The PPA and PokerStars reacted by urging lawmakers to reject the amended bill, thus leading to the current stalemate. Elaborating further on its side of the argument, a PPA official press release explained:
“These proposed amendments would restrict competition and leave players dissatisfied. We are deeply disappointed that Chairman Adam Gray has chosen to play politics at the behest of special interests.”