Assemblymember Jones-Sawyer Introduces Internet Poker Bill

For immediate release:

Sacramento, Calif., – After much anticipation from California’s poker community and interested stakeholders, Assemblymember Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer Sr.(D-Los Angeles) has reintroduced a measure to legalize internet poker in California.  Assembly Bill 167, also called the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of  2015, would establish the framework to authorize qualified entities to operate intrastate internet poker websites.

“The reintroduction of this legislation comes on the heels of very thoughtful and collaborative discussion, including substantial input from both the state Department of Justice and the Gambling Control Commission. It is absolutely essential that we have a proper regulatory structure in place that provides safe and compliant internet poker access,” acknowledges Jones-Sawyer.

Under AB 167, authorized entities, which include tribal gaming facilities, licensed card rooms and in-state horse racing associations, must undergo an extensive ‘determination of suitability’ process by the Department of Justice before becoming eligible to apply for an operator license.  Key takeaways of the bill include a required one-time licensing fee of $10 million and mandatory gross gaming revenue payments of 8.5 percent; made quarterly to the state.  In addition, the bill makes any violation of its provisions a felony.

Internet poker was first discussed more than seven years ago in the legislature.  However, there has never been a vote in any committee on any previously introduced bill.  Jones-Sawyer hopes to change that this year.

“We have reached a new starting point.  The dialogue over the past year has allowed us to reach even broader consensus and mutual agreement as to who will be able to participate in providing internet poker to the citizens of this great state.  My goal remains unchanged:  to set a standard in California that is the shining example for the entire nation.”