Online gambling firm bwin.party has struck an agreement with casino operators in California as it gets ready for the 'inevitable' legalisation of Internet betting in the state.
The company said it had struck a deal with the United Auburn Indian Community ('UAIC'), which owns and operates the Thunder Valley Casino Resort near Sacramento, California.
The formal agreement will see bwin offering online poker services in California if suitable intrastate legislation is enacted there.
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The law governing Internet gambling is somewhat confused in the USA, but it is generally held that the Federal Wire Act, which bans electronic transmission of information for sports betting across telecommunications lines, effectively makes online gambling illegal.
In February, two senators introduced draft legislation to regulate online gaming within California.
The Internet Gambling Consumer Protection and Public-Private Partnership Act of 2012 proposes regulating license and tax internet poker within the state of California.
The current proposed rate of tax is 10% of gross gaming revenue.
Under the agreement between bwin and UAIC, the online gambling firm would provide the technology and operations expertise to power the services plus related support.
UAIC would secure and maintain the necessary licenses to operate online poker services in California.
The deal would be for a 10-year period from the date that online poker services are launched.
David Keyser, Tribal Chairman of UAIC, said that he saw the legalisation of Internet poker and other Internet gaming as inevitable.
"Having met with representatives from a number of different online gaming companies, bwin.party was our first choice as partner," he said.
"With its unrivalled expertise in online poker, proven technology and player loyalty we are confident of being able to maximise the revenue opportunity from a regulated online poker market in California and to continue to enhance the long-term prosperity of our community."
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