Online poker legalisation bill due soon in California.

By RP, February 12, 2014

The good news from California is that another run at legalising online poker is reportedly about to commence in the state Legislature…and this one may have a better chance than previous attempts with reports that the key support of tribal gambling interests is growing, with at least seven tribes now on-side for a bill drafted by the Pechanga tribe .

Insiders who have seen the draft bill claim that it will keep the advantage of California’s large population by prohibiting player-sharing compacts with other states, and will have provisions excluding “bad actors” – companies that formerly flouted US laws against online gambling financial transactions – an element widely perceived to be a protectionist mechanism to ensure that external competition is kept to a minimum.

That protectionism is also evident in provisions which restrict each licence to cover only a single online poker room, and reserve licensing for existing card rooms and tribal gambling groups that have been operational in the Golden State for at least five years.

Participation in a legalised Californian market will not come cheap – some reports predict that a one-time licensing fee of $5 million will be a requirement, along with tax at 5 percent of GGR.

Aspirant operators will be watching developments in the state Legislature closely once the session commences on February 21.