Last minute amendments have been made to online poker legislation currently on the table in the state of California that the Poker Players Alliance and the PokerStars Coalition are not happy about. The changes essentially block PokerStars from entering the online poker market if legislation is approved and both groups want to see changes made to reverse the latest amendments to the measure.
The bill could be voted on as early as next week. To be successful, the measure will have to move from the Assembly and then to the Senate. Assemblyman Adam Gray, the sponsor of the measure, announced this week that a compromise had been reached with a tribal coalition that includes the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. The coalition is in opposition of PokerStars being involved in the online poker market of California due to the business dealings of the brand in the past within the United States. The changes reportedly bans the PokerStars brand from being involved in the industry for a five year time frame.
Many in the industry feel that this change to the online poker measure is penalizing PokerStars. The company did provide online poker games in the US after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was enacted in 2006 but reached a settlement with the federal government while admitting no wrongdoing. The settlement helped to see the brand begin offering online poker once again in the United States, gaining licensing in New Jersey.
The Poker Players Alliance, a strong supporter of poker gaming in the US, are skeptical of the five year ban against PokerStars. The PPA has stated in a press release that after reviewing the proposed amendment, the information reveals that it is actually a lifetime ban. The amendments made to AB 2863 will be less likely to pass thanks to the changes according to the poker proponent. The PPA says these changes raise serious constitutional issues.
The PokerStars coalition have made statements as well in regards to the amendments, stating that the changes will likely result in litigation and prevent the implementation of the iPoker bill should it become law. The coalition is disappointed in the turn of events as the group has been an early and strong supporter of AB 2863 and have negotiated in good faith and championed the right of the State to be able to regulate the industry and protect consumers. The coalition includes the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Commerce Casino, Bicycle Casino and Hawaiian Gardens Casino.