California iPoker Bill To Modify “Bad Actor” Clause

California iPoker Bill To Modify “Bad Actor” ClauseCalifornia state legislators Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer (AB-2291) and State Senator Joe Correa (SB-1366) introduced their respective iPoker bills in the assembly and senate in February of this year, but the bills were subsequently shelved in August after months of wrangling between the disparate gaming interest in The Golden State.
At the heart of the debate was a “bad actor” clause included in the bills which would have shut PokerStars out of the state’s future online gambling market. Now, however, Assemblyman Jones-Sawyer (photo) has hinted that submitting a new bill at the start of the 2015/16 legislative session will be one of his most important priorities, and that this time around the language may be kinder to the world’s biggest poker site PokerStars.
“We must make sure that any ‘Bad Actor Language’ is written so that it is applied fairly, and avoids any possible future legal challenges,” explained Jones-Sawyer.
The “bad actor” label is reserved for those firms who flaunted the UIGEA and operated in the USA’s unregulated iGaming market after the act was passed on December 31, 2006. In California’s previous bills, AB-2291 and SB-1366, the “bad actor” clauses were subsequently made “non-severable,” making it impossible to pass them into law without the “bad actor”clause remaining intact.
As a result, tribes already with  partnerships agreements in place with PokerStars, such as the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, California poker rooms, the Bicycle Casino, Hawaiian Gardens, and the Commerce Casino, vehemently opposed the bills and vowed to do whatever necessary to prevent them passing into state law.
California has been attempting to regulate its online gambling market since 2007, and in 2014 was named as one of 10 states most likely to introduce legislation at some point during the year. Achieving consensus amongst the various local gambling interests, however, has been like navigating a minefield, but this time around Jones-Sawyer is hoping a softening of attitudes towards PokerStars following the company’s acquisition by Canadian firm Amaya will finally pave the way for legislation. Outlining his aspirations, the Assemblyman, said:
“It is my hope that during the next few months we can continue the dialogue with all the interested principals so that there is a clear consensus and mutual agreement as to who will be able to participate in providing internet poker to our citizens. We have come a long way. But we have to be patient, so we can get this right. Setting a standard in California that will be an example for the entire nation is my ultimate goal!”

Other news:   Multi-state online poker compact bill introduced in Pennsylvania

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