California Online Poker Update: 5-Year ‘Bad Actor’ Ban for PokerStars?
California’s slow march towards regulated online poker continued this week with a proposed 5-year ban on bad actors, such as PokerStars, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The amendment was added to AB 2863 earlier this week by the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced). Representative Gray’s proposal would prevent any operator that accepted action from US players after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed into law in 2006.
Gray’s proposal is clearly aimed at the crown jewel of the Amaya Gaming empire, PokerStars. PokerStars, the venerable and controversial king of the online poker world, is widely known to have worked US players after the UIGEA went into effect.
The ban, which is also known as a penalty box, is a feature of Golden State regulated gambling that is supported, and was almost certainly written at the behest of, California’s power tribal gaming interests. A coalition of these groups, led by the Pachanga Band, has been lobbying California lawmakers in an effort to keep competitive online operators out of the California gaming market.
The fact that lobbyists were able to work a bad actor clause into the latest version of AB 2863 suggests that tribal gaming is definitely running the show when it comes to California gaming.
Of course their efforts to shut down online poker may not have ever been necessary in the first place. AB 2863 has never had a lot of support from lawmakers and every version of it that’s been introduced so far has been killed in committee.