California iPoker Regulation Derailed Once AgainJune 17, 2016 2:20 pm
The prospect of California adopting online poker regulation just hit another road block after the Assembly Appropriations Committee decided to simply discuss the proposed bill for an hour without subsequently taking a final vote on the issue.
California Assemblymember Adam Gray had hoped that new amendments made to his bill, AB 2863, would have paved the way for a compromise to be reached between the various gambling interests. Of particular importance was an amendment which defined a “bad actor” as a company that offered online gambling to U.S. residents post-December 31st, 2011, as opposed to the previous post-UIGEA date proposed of December 31, 2006.
This would have paved the way for PokerStars to be considered for a state iGaming license, but on June 15th the Pechanga Coalition made its views felt by obstructing the process, and demanding the 2006 cutoff date be reinstated once more. As Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians chairman, Jeff Grubbe (photo), subsequently explained:
“The issue of who is suitable to be licensed and the tainted assets that illegal gaming operators accrued through unlawful gaming for five or more years are the matters that drive us to strongly oppose this measure.”
As well as its tainted reputation for flaunting the UIGEA, PokerStars is also perceived as a threat to the Indian tribes’ ability to launch a competitive poker industry post-regulation, as the company currently has a virtual monopoly over the industry with a 70% share of the global poker market. Tribal interests will also be keenly aware of the market share PokerStars has managed to wrest away from New Jersey’s other operators since launching its product in the Garden State a couple of months ago, and stating their opposition to the operator, Grubbe said:
“Troubles follow this company. So why are we willing to work so hard to [let] that one particular entity.. enter the market?”