It appears that Pechanga opposition has once again delayed progress towards iPoker regulation in California.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee met on Wednesday to discuss AB 2863 and possibly vote on the measure.

However, after a letter from the Pechanga Coalition that opposed the bill in its current form, the committee decided to ask that the bill be amended in an attempt to finally bring a consensus of all stakeholders.

Amendments Address Fiscal and Suitability Concerns

The amendments proposed by the Appropriations Committee covered two areas of the bill. First, they addressed some concerns over the fiscal viability of the bill and then looked at suitability language.

First, the committee was concerned that the present bill could fail to bring any income to the state.

As presently drafted, California iPoker would have to make $400 million annually before the state would see a dime. Tax revenue on the first $400 million would go to pay the $60 million stipend to the horse racing industry.

The committee suggested that 90% of tax revenues go towards the horse racing industry and 10% to the general fund. This would continue until the $60 million stipend is met. Afterwards, 100% goes to the general fund.

Next, the committee covered a couple of areas of suitability.

First, they recommended that the California Gambling Control Commission impose restrictions on the use of assets acquired by online poker companies prior to the passage of this bill.

Essentially, this means that PokerStars would not be able to use their customer lists or other assets they gained prior to Black Friday. The extent of these limitations would be determined by the CGCC.

Next, the committee recommends that bad actors be delayed access to California iPoker until January 1, 2021. Any iGaming company that took bets in the U.S. from January 1, 2006 until December 31, 2011 would face this delay.

However, the committee also proposed that a company could get out of this delay by paying an additional fee of $20 million that would go to the general fund.

This way, PokerStars would be allowed to participate but the state could claim their pound of flesh.

Will the Pechanga Compromise Over These New Amendments?

The big question now is whether these new amendments will bring opposing factions any closer to a consensus.

Some are already claiming that the Pechanga Coalition will oppose the suitability language, stating that a $20 million fee is nothing to PokerStars.

Also, will the horse racing industry be willing to negotiate on their stipend. The new amendment could cost them 10% of tax revenue in years that the industry doesn't reach $400 million.

A hearing is scheduled for June 29th to reconsider the bill provided new amendments are added. If the bill passes committee, it would move on to a potential floor vote.

However, if the Pechanga fail to cooperate, some feel that the bill will once again fall short of a vote and this will start over again next year.

The next few weeks will give us a better idea of whether California will actually regulate iPoker this year or continue to spin their wheels.