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The recent changes made to California Assemblyman Adam Gray’s online poker bill AB 2863, seem to be paying off. Just days after the amendments were announced, the horse racing industry has given its official support to the bill, which is now slated for hearing on April 27 by the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee.
In an article by Pokernews.com, it was stated that the horseracing industry has written out a number of caveats, even as it supports Gray’s recent changes.
The bill had died a premature death last year, with none of the stakeholders agreeing to the terms. This year, the bill was re-introduced with $60 million promised to the horseracing industry, in exchange for refraining from offering any poker services.
Two days ago, the bill was amended with the major change being the “impartial language on suitability standards,” clause that had been demanded by opposing tribes. The clause mainly refers to the earlier ‘bad actor’ clause, which allowed PokerStars re-entry into the state.
Pointing out to the $60 million terms, the horseracing industry has firmly stated that there would be no negotiations on that figure and that California was the only state that did not allow its industry to earn revenues from any alternate form of gaming by either offering casino games or sharing in a percentage of slot-machine income. This was a total contrast to states, such as New York, Florida, and Maryland.
The racing industry has also asked for reasonable taxes and other nitty gritty.
The letter has mentioned several points, some as listed below –
“The $60 million annual payment to horse racing is not changed.
Tax rate and licensing fees (which were left blank in the bill after being 15 percent and $15 million in the initial draft proposal), remain reasonable. Racing’s concern is that its $60 million comes from the fees collected by the state, which won’t reach $60 million if the state isn’t collecting that much from online poker.
Any fair or association that ceases to offer live racing should no longer be eligible to participate in the fund.
Language is added to the bill clarifying that giving up the right to participate as an operator in online poker doesn’t preclude a horseracing association from participating in any future Internet gambling activities allowed by the state, nor affect its ability to continue offering online wagering on horses.”
The representatives of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, California Thoroughbred Breeders Association, Jockeys Guild, California Authority of Racing Fairs, CA Teamsters Public Affairs Council, California Throroughbred Trainers, Los Alamitos Racing Association, and SEIU California have all signed the letter.