California amends Online Poker bill

The battle for online poker license in the United States has gained momentum with the state of California making amendments to an online poker bill. These amendments come as a result of the displeasure expressed by the previous bill by the Pechanga band of Luiseno mission Indians and the California Tribal Business Alliance.

Changes introduced

The bill sponsors Senator Darrel Steinberg and Roderick Wright amended the bill to include the following provisions:

  • License applicants to existing casinos and card rooms that are currently offering live poker
  • Eliminate a provision that would have made online casinos to be phased out after two weeks
  • Change the duration of the online poker license from ten years to five years.
  • Removal of a clause that made it mandatory for Indian tribes to waive sovereignty rights to be eligible for online poker license. The tribes will now only be required to waive their sovereignty during the application process.
  • Applicants must show “good standing” for a minimum of three years with the California gambling control commission.
  • The license fee remains at $30 million. The fee can be renegotiated after five years.
  • The Californian gambling commission will be in charge of issuing licenses a right that had previously been reserved for the State’s Department of Justice.
  • There is no restriction on the number of internet poker sites that can be operated by the licensees.

The changes will come as a relief to the stakeholders who had written to the stakeholders to express their displeasure with the original bill.

The changes to the bill will almost certainly be received positively in by international companies such as Bwin.Party, and party poker as license applicant will be allowed to form partnership and new subsidiaries with such companies. Bwin.party has already laid the frame-work for this partnership by partnering with the California United Auburn Community.