Saturday February 20,2016 : NEW ONLINE POKER BILL LAUNCHED IN CALIFORNIA (Update)
Assemblyman Gray's AB2863 includes incentive to keep horse racing operators out of the market.
Assemblyman Adam Gray, who has been largely responsible for driving the latest online poker legalisative attempts in California took many by surprise late Friday when he launched AB2863 in the state's lower house, apparently approved by at least one tribal group.
The tribe – the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians – issued a statement praising Gray and expressing support for the bill, with chairman Bo Mazetti noting:
“The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians has worked and continue to work with the Legislature, Tribal leaders, cardrooms and other key stakeholders in passing meaningful Internet poker legalization. The introduction of Assembly Bill 2863 provides a vehicle for the passage of Internet poker.
“Through Assemblyman Gray’s hard work last year and continuing open and honest dialogue this year, the momentum behind Internet poker legalization builds.
“Paramount to any gaming legalization is the protection of children and the vulnerable; California job creation; revenue generation for state services, and consumer protection. AB 2863 expands upon all of these ideals.
“We support Assemblyman Gray’s efforts and look forward to getting this done in 2016.”
Whilst full details of the bill were not available when InfoPowa went to press Saturday morning, the usually reliable analyst Chris Krafcik went on Twitter to disclose that the bill will include licence and tax proposals, and that a subsidy to keep horse racing out of the market has been retained.
InfoPowa readers will recall that recent negotiations on a draft form of the bill in California have included proposals for a $15 million licensing fee and a 15 percent tax rate, with a subsidy of up to $60 million (based on industry performance) planned for the horse racing industry to ensure its support and keep it out of the market.
AB 2863 represents a continuation of Assemblyman Gray's ongoing attempts to create a consensus strong enough to break the decade-long political deadlock on internet poker legalization in California.
Last year his AB431, whilst not achieving a floor vote, had the distinction of being the first legalization bill to make it through committee stage, albeit largely in the form of a negotiable shell bill.
It appears that a long and difficult road still lies ahead as Gray strives to bring a variety of interested parties on board, and it is still too early to predict how far the new bill will go…but it's a new start in a new year.