California Poker Bill “Unfair” According To Poker Players AllianceDecember 9, 2014 6:12 pm
The Poker Players Alliance has branded the new Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act introduced this month by Assemblyman Mike Gatto as “unwise and unfair”, and warned its acceptance would be a guaranteed way to hinder a regulated iPoker market. Included in the bill, also known as AB 9, is a whole raft of controversial provisions, not least a requirement that online players would have to sign up for their new accounts either at satellite service centers or at brick-and-mortar casinos. Commenting on that particular point, PPA Executive Director John Pappas said:
“It defeats the purpose of online poker, to be able to deposit from your computer. I think it’s someone’s misguided understanding on how to establish synergies between brick-and-mortar casinos and online players. There are other ways to bring people to your properties.”
Other contentious issues include excluding the horseracing industry from a future Californian online poker market, as well inclusion of a “bad actor” clause seemingly with PokerStars in mind. Naturally, the PPA and a coalition of Californian pro-PokerStars groups reacted harshly to the potential piece of legislation, labeling it as divisive, exclusive, and not in the interest of online poker players. Furthermore, AB 9 has proposed criminalizing those players found to be gambling on unregulated, unlicensed sites post-regulation in the Golden State.
Nevertheless, the bill has been marked as “urgent,” meaning just a two-third majority would be needed to pass AB 9 into law, and no signature from Governor Jerry Brown would be necessary. However, drumming up that level of support may not be at all straightforward, especially as the piece of legislation has been called “a rehash of previously unsuccessful proposals” by opposition groups.
Online poker regulation in California has the potential to turnaround the country’s ailing iPoker landscape, and between 2009 and 2010 a PokerScout report suggests 178,300 people out of a state population of 38 million regularly played poker online.