Senators Wright and Steinberg Introduce Online Gaming Bill in California

By Maria McCoyGoogle

This past weekend, Online Gaming SB 1463 was introduced in California by Senators Rod Wright and Darrell Steinberg. As it currently stands, the Gambling Control Act regulates gaming activities and licenses in the state.

As part of the proposed bill, online casino games operators will be eligible to apply for a ten year license to operate an intrastate internet gaming website to registered players within California.  The caveat is that operators can only offer poker at this time. Operators who offer any other games would be in violation of the Bill and could face misdemeanor charges.

Operators who acquire licenses will be required to pay an application fee that would be deposited into the Internet Gambling Licensing Fund. This fee stands to be “continuously appropriated to the department for the reasonably anticipated costs of investigating the applicant.”  The Fund would go towards the actual costs of license oversight, consumer protection, state regulation, problem gambling programs, and other purposes related to this bill.

Additionally, the Bill would make it mandatory for each operator to pay a nonrefundable license fee in the amount of $30,000,000 for deposit in the General Fund. This fee would be credited against monthly fees imposed on the licensee’s gross gaming revenue.

In order to monitor results, the Bill requires the Bureau of State Audits to review the activity and file a report to the Legislature on the implementation of the Bill. This would occur two years after the issue date of any license by the state and cannot exceed three years after that date.

Although the Constitution of California requires the state to provide reimbursement to local agencies for certain costs mandated by the state, the Bill would override it in relation to this issue. 

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