Californian Online Poker Setback After Bill WithdrawnJune 30, 2010 6:36 am
Californian online poker suffered a setback on Tuesday after interest groups succeeded in persuading Roderick Wright to withdraw his bill which would have paved the way for legalized online poker in the state.
In the past, the drive to open the Californian market to online poker received its most ardent support from card clubs and the wealthy Indian gaming tribes, in particular the Morongo. Those in favour of the bill highlighted the fact that legalized online poker could have aided the ailing Californian economy to the tune of between $2.4 billion and $6.1 billion between 2012 and 2020.
Initially, the Morongo and the card clubs had anticipated running an online poker network together, but recently became concerned after the state signalled their intention to allow bidding for licences from companies located outside of California, and abroad.
Ironically, the Indian tribes and card clubs were instrumental in ensuring the bill failed to make it even to a senate vote and argued that unless they themselves ran the operation, then local gambling businesses and jobs within the industry would be lost.
“By licensing foreign operators and Las Vegas gaming interests, this allows money to leave the state instead of helping California’s economy,” the Morongo tribe and card clubs wrote to the Senate committee, but as former state lawmaker Lloyd Levine states:
“It seems to me that Morongo’s opposition is not on principle but on the fact that they don’t get to own the whole thing.”
It would appear there are a lot more creases to iron out and interest groups to satisfy before California finally agrees on a formula that will work for the state. In the meantime, in a sign of how far the whole thing has yet to run, the chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Mark Macarro threatened in February to stop paying $42 million in annual casino revenue sharing payments to the state if online gambling in California was ever legalized.