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Tough Poker Penalties In Regulation Bill

Of two current competing online poker regulation bills, one authored by State Senator Lou Correa titled SB40 has widened licensing possibilities following its latest amendments according to The Capitol Weekly Newspaper.

One of the new details introduced is penalties for players who gamble on unlicensed poker sites, including the seizure of equipment used by players. It also allows more carrots or incentives and opportunities to companies who abide by the law.

Mr. Correra believes his bill will survive deadlines even if he misses a policy committee hearing later this week as he previously placed an urgency clause with the bill.

Correra's bill is competing against a similar bill by Senator Rod White titled SB45. Both bills will be heard on July 12th by the Senate Government Organization Committee. Senator Wright is Chair of the committee, and he has also taken the step of protecting his bill with an urgency clause.

Correra's bill offers up to 3 licenses for intrastate online poker companies and includes a federal opt-out provision, meaning that California could choose to make its own law in regards to online poker if the Federal government passes regulation at a higher level. Licensees who apply would prepay $50 million to the state against their future revenues within 90 days of the application.

Penalties for players are a key matter in this bill, with penalties of up to $10,000 and "seizure of property and real estate used or deprived from the operation of or play on an unauthorized website."

So far the legislation has accumulated over 15 hours of testimony over 6 hearings. There have been calls to merge the competing bills, although those calls have gone unanswered.

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