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California Online Poker Bill Sees Changes

8 July 2011 by admin

Senator Lou Correa has decided to make some changes to his bill to regulate online poker in the state of California. And I am not talking about a couple of tiny tweaks; these are some pretty heavy changes. These changes come on a few days ahead of a hearing scheduled with the California Senate Government Organization Committee, which is scheduled for July 12th. The hearing is meant to allow those on the committee and its chair, Senator Rod Wright, the opportunity to learn more about the bill and no vote is scheduled to take place; this is an informational hearing only about the online poker bill.

The reason for the hearing is that there are two bills in the California Senate and Wright has said that only one will continue on to the full Senate. The other bill is proposed by Wright himself. It is likely that Correa made changes to his online poker bill in order to increase the chances of his bill being the one to go on to the full State Senate.

The changes Correa has made bring it more in line with Wright’s bill. For starters, Correa has done away with the cap his bill originally set. At his bill’s onset, only five online gambling operators would be awarded licenses. Now his bill allows for an unlimited number of operators to obtain licenses for online poker. To also increase the drawing power of online poker operators, Correa also put a reduced licensing fee into his bill: for operators who apply within the first 90 days of the bill taking effect, only $50 million is required; after 90 days the fee goes up to $250 million. As for Sovereign Nations who want to get in on the online poker action, those tribes would need a tribal gaming ordinance stamp issued to them by the National Indian Gaming Commission.

But to make his bill more appealing to California’s government, Correa has also amped up the penalties in his bill. For those who are caught gambling illegally, there would be a $10,000 fine. Also a player’s property, money or other assets could be seized as a means of punishment.

Those are the changes Correa has made to bring is bill for online poker into better competition with Wright’s online gambling bill. However, Wright’s bill differs in that it is not limited to only online poker. Wright’s bill would allow for online casinos to operate in California; there is also no limit on the number of operators who could apply for licenses.

Wright’s bill was the first of the two to be introduced and it offers a broader spectrum of real money online gambling options, which could prove to be enticing to California for its ability to generate more revenue simply from offering more. will continue to follow the two bills and will be sure to let readers know which of the two bills moves forward.

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