Internet poker bill would require tribes to get state contract

Tribes that want to engage in Internet poker will have to compete for a state contract under a bill introduced by California Sen. Roderick Wright (D).

The Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2010 authorizes up to three contracts for Internet poker sites. Tribes with a contract will have to pay a licensing fee to the state and share at least 20 percent of gross revenue with the state.

The sites will only be available to gamblers in California. Wright estimates that more than 1.5 million people in the state already wager on online poker games based in other countries.

Some tribes have opposed the idea of Internet poker. They say existing tribal-state compacts guarantee them exclusivity for Class III games.

The bill reportedly states that online poker games will not violate the exclusivity provision. The issue has never been tested in court -- Class III games are currently limited to tribes with gaming compacts for facilities on Indian land.

The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 bans Internet gambling but carves out exceptions for wagering that takes place under state law or through tribal-state compacts. Wright's bill apparently would not allow Internet poker under a compact.

Get the Story:
Bill would allow firms to set up 'Net gaming (The Palm Springs Desert Sun 6/2)
PolitiCal: New bill would legalize Internet poker (The Los Angeles Times 6/1)
Legal deadline ups the ante for online poker (Forbes 6/1)

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