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PokerStars: California Bill 'Rehash Of Previously Unsuccessful Proposals'

Coalition Opposes Newest Proposal For Online Poker In CA

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Earlier this week, a new bill was introduced into the California legislature that aims to authorize online poker within the Golden State sometime next year.

There are a lot of competing businesses that want involvement in a California online poker industry. On Thursday, a coalition consisting of two of California’s tribal gaming groups, as well as three card clubs and PokerStars, came out in opposition to the new proposal.

Basically, they don’t like it because it could prevent PokerStars from providing its technology to California groups. The following comes from the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Commerce Club, the Hawaiian Gardens Casino, the Bicycle Casino and Canada-based Amaya Gaming Group, which owns PokerStars and Full Tilt.

“As a coalition, we are committed to working with legislators and our other partners in the gaming community to pass Internet poker legislation in 2015 that establishes a vibrant, competitive marketplace, provides superior consumer protections, and ensures that the state receives a reasonable return. We are convinced that the various interests must work together if we are to be successful in establishing a well-regulated environment and the best-in-class Internet poker industry for California.

“Unfortunately, AB 9 is a rehash of previously unsuccessful proposals. Any bill that seeks to establish artificial competitive advantages for some, while denying Californians the best online poker experiences, will only serve to divide the community and will be opposed by our coalition.”

The coalition is concerned about the so-called “bad actor” provisions that they think limits the competition the industry needs. The issue stems from the fact that PokerStars, under prior ownership, fell into hot water with the federal government. However, that case has been settled and PokerStars never was found to be guilty of wrongdoing.

Online poker industries in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey arguably have been stagnant.

The man who introduced the new California bill, Assemblyman Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-­Glendale), said that “AB 9 is different from previous proposals, in that it endeavors to address both the external criticisms of the industry, and expand the pie to obtain accord amongst competing gaming interests." It appears the PokerStars coalition very much disagrees.

For years California has been home to online poker legalization efforts. Many think it will finally happen next year, but the statement from the coalition damages those chances.