Bwin.party digital entertainment plc and the United Auburn Indian Community (‘UAIC’), which owns and operates the Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento, California, announced yesterday that they have entered into a formal agreement to offer online poker services in California if suitable intrastate legislation is enacted in the state.
As a federally recognized California Indian tribe that already operates a casino resort within the state, UAIC would be a qualified license applicant under legislation proposed in the California State Senate and would secure and maintain the necessary licenses to operate online poker services in California. bwin.party would provide the technology and operations expertise to power the services plus related support. The Agreement would be for a 10-year period from the date that online poker services are launched.
Commenting on the announcement, Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, the Co-CEOs of bwin.party, said: “California is the largest state in the U.S. in terms of population and is known to have a significant number of poker players who like to play poker online. Combining our own significant assets and resources with those of UAIC will create a strong partnership that is well-placed to seize the opportunities that will arise if appropriate online poker legislation is enacted in the Golden State.”
David Keyser, Tribal Chairman of UAIC commented: “We see the legalization of Internet poker and other Internet gaming as being inevitable. Having met with representatives from a number of different online gaming companies, bwin.party was our first choice as partner. With its unrivalled expertise in online poker, proven technology and player loyalty we are confident of being able to maximize the revenue opportunity from a regulated online poker market in California and to continue to enhance the long-term prosperity of our community.”
On 24 February 2012, Senators Wright and Steinberg introduced legislation to regulate online gaming within California. The Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2012 (SB 1463) proposes, inter alia, to regulate license and tax internet poker within the state of California. The current proposed rate of tax is 10% of gross gaming revenue.