PokerStars and CA Partners Respond to New iPoker Bill

PokerStarsOn Tuesday, California Assemblyman Mike Gatto unexpectedly introduced a draft of online poker legislation in California. Gatto’s bill draws heavily from previous legislative initiatives, including 2014’s Jones-Sawyer bill (AB 2291) and the proposed legislation written by a coalition of 13 tribes from the summer.

Most notably, the bill includes a (further strengthened) Bad Actor/Tainted Assets/Acquired Assets clause that would ostensibly keep PokerStars out of the market.

Over 48 hours after it was announced, PokerStars and their coalition of California partners responded to Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s proposed online poker bill, AB 9.

The response was short and to the point:

“As a coalition, we are committed to working with legislators and our other partners in the gaming community to pass Internet poker legislation in 2015 that establishes a vibrant, competitive marketplace, provides superior consumer protections, and ensures that the state receives a reasonable return. We are convinced that the various interests must work together if we are to be successful in establishing a well-regulated environment and the best-in-class Internet poker industry for California.

“Unfortunately, AB 9 is a rehash of previously unsuccessful proposals. Any bill that seeks to establish artificial competitive advantages for some, while denying Californians the best online poker experiences, will only serve to divide the community and will be opposed by our coalition.”

The co-statement was issued by PokerStars, Amaya Gaming, Commerce Casino, Bicycle Casino, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, and the newest members of the PokerStars coalition the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

The concise and delayed (over 48 hours) nature of the response could be read as a signal that the PokerStars faction doesn’t see Gatto’s bill as the driver of iPoker legislation in 2015. Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer was/is expected to introduce his own online poker legislation, and there could also be a bill drafted for the State Senate.

The response is similar to the group’s previous refutation of the proposed legislation that was being pushed by a coalition of 13 tribes (a number since reduced to 12)  earlier this year.

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