California Starts 2017 With a New Poker Bill

Publish: 23.02.2017

The Golden State is continuing its push towards online poker legislation, which has become a recurrent issue in California over the past decade.

Some ten years of debating have not brought the state any closer to untangling the problem, but the year of 2017 have gotten off to a promising start as California Assembly member Reginald Jones-Sawyer introduced the state’s latest online poker bill.

Latest Attempt

The Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act has debuted on Friday under the registry number AB 1677 and it is the latest attempt in the line of previous poker bills California failed to pass in most recent times.

The essence of the bill in question is that is proposes approval for tribes and card rooms to offer poker to all persons over the age of 21 located in the state of California. In addition, it presents a list of eligible poker licensees, which is similarly limited to in-state operators most of which were included in previous bill attempts.

The proposed license fee for a seven-year period is $12.5 million upfront, which will be then credited against future tax obligation. The tax rate is proposed to follow the escalation rate which will go in accordance to cumulative annual poker revenue by all of the state’s licensees in a progressive manner.

If annual gross revenues is less than or equal to $150 million, the rate is 8.847%, where is climbs to 10% for revenues less than or equal to $250 million. Higher sums will trigger the tax rate of 15%.

The Big Issue

The main issue of the new bill deals with the ‘bad actor’ hot-button.

The AB 1677 doesn’t make a clear stance in relation to the question of what qualifies a service provider ‘bad actor’ – operators like PokerStars which do not follow the suitability regulations as they continue to serve California residents without a license.