California online poker bill set for further changes
A bill that would legalise online poker in California is facing a series of proposed amendments as lawmakers in the US state continue to discuss its entrance into law.
Introduced by Assemblyman Adam Gray, AB 2863 is the closest that the state has come to legalising online poker for some time, with the bill in April having been passed by the California Assembly Governmental Organisation by a vote of 18-0.
However, the bill’s progress has now been delayed by the introduction of a number of new amendments, which cover tax rate issues, licence fees and the so-called ‘bad actor’ clause, the latter of which would block any operator that continued to accept online bets after December 2006 from US-based players from obtaining a licence in the state.
Should the latter amendment be approved, the bill would enable online operators such as PokerStars, which was amongst those to breach the 2006 cut-off date, to apply for a licence in the state.
Other proposed amendments include increasing the licence fee from $10 million (€8.8 million) to $12.5 million, as well as the tax rate operators a required to pay being dependent on the combined gross gaming revenue (GGR).
Should GGR exceed $350 million, the rate would be set at 15%, but this would be lowered to 12.5% should GGR come in between $250 and $350 million.
The rate for those with a GGR of between $150 and $250 million would be set at 10%, while any operator with a GGR of less than $150 million would be faced with a rate of 8.85%.
A final version of the bill is expected to be published later this month.
Related article: California edges closer to online poker as bill passes