Latest iPoker Bill Introduced in CaliforniaFebruary 22, 2017 10:50 am
Efforts to bring online poker to California have failed over the past decade, with the last attempt having ground to a halt in August of last year. Nevertheless, The Golden State’s 2017 initiative has now been launched after Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer introduced his Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act (AB-1677) to the state legislature last week.
According to the iPoker bill, California’s card rooms and Indian tribes would be permitted to tender an application for an official license, while the state’s horse racing industry would receive a $60 million per annum provision for its exclusion from the regulated market.
There are plenty of benefits for an online poker bill passing in California, too, as it is estimated to be worth around $400 million a year, or twice the amount currently being generated by New Jersey’s entire online gambling market. In fact, the USA’s wealthiest and most populous state accounted for 16% of the country’s iPoker revenues between 2009 and 2010, and 4% of the entire global market. Furthermore, around one million Californians are believed to still be playing real money online poker on unregulated sites.
While California has the potential to turn the tide in efforts to expand online poker throughout the US, and encourage other states to do likewise, disagreements between the various gaming interests in California have brought the process to a halt numerous times in the past. One of the key issues is whether or not to allow PokerStars to be part of a future California online poker market, as rival tribes see anyone forming a partnership with the company as securing an unfair advantage ahead of its competitors.
The policies of US President Donald Trump may hinder any efforts to advance online poker legislation, too, as disputes over immigration issues threatens to spill out into other areas. A heavy-handed approach by the Trump administration to impose a federal online gambling ban is therefore not out of the question, and as Trump stated recently:
“We give tremendous amounts of money to California. California in many ways is out of control, as you know.”