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It has been discussed for a long time now and the time has come that California will be the first state to try to legalize and regulate online poker within its borders.  The bill, called the California Online Poker Law Enforcement Compliance and Consumer Protection Act, will attempt to create a legal system of playing poker on the Internet while still complying with federal law and the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act.

The bill still has a long trek to becoming law, but the fact that it is moving forward in the legislative process is indeed a good sign for proponents of the legalization and regulation of online poker.  It is likely that it will be amended before it is actually passed into regulation, however it does have some key points that are likely to make it into a final draft of the law.

Some of these points are that Internet poker is only offered for play in a manner that is lawful under the UIGEA of 2006 and it limits licenses to current gaming establishments, licensed by California, as well as to California tribes with compacts.

It also:

– Mandates that wagering hub(s) are to be located within the state.

–  Specifies only poker games already approved for play at land-based, licensed gambling establishments may be offered online.

–  Recommends a gross receipts tax structure that mirrors the structure currently imposed on land-based card rooms in California.

–  Requires each Internet Website to have an individual, when opening an account, place a limitation on the amount of funds that may be transferred into that account within a 24-hour period.

–  Requires that each Internet Website provide for withdrawals from the wagering account by check only, made payable to the account holder and sent to the address of the account holder, or by an electronic transfer to the same financial account from which the verified account holder is authorized to make deposits into a wagering account.