Horse Racing Interests Seek Californian Online Poker Access

Horse Racing Interests Seek Californian Online Poker AccessAlthough California has been debating online poker regulation since 2007, any progress on the issue has been stymied over the years as disparate gambling interests have sought to carve out a slice of the lucrative iGaming pie, whilst also shutting out any competition from potential rivals. The frustrating situation even lead to the Santa Ysabel tribe recently launching play iGaming site PrivateTable.com, with the intention of turning it into a real money site before too long. As Santa Ysabel’s gaming attorney Martin Owens, explained:
“So everyone is out there, with enough money to block each other in the stage legislature.. There are some really deep-seated rivalries. That’s what’s kept Internet gaming from moving forward at the state level. There are too many people whose main interest is making sure someone else doesn’t get a chance.”
One of those deep-seated rivalries is between California’s Native American Tribes and the state’s horse racing tracks, highlighted by the fact Bills AB-2291 and SB-1366 include language forbidding racing tracks from offering their own online poker websites, at the request of the state’s Native American tribes.
Nevertheless, California’s race track interests are determined not to be shut out of an online poker market predicted to be worth $263 million by year one, rising to $384 million within ten years. According to Poker Players Alliance (PPA) Director John Pappas, the situation now presents a formidable obstacle currently slowing down online poker progress in the state’s legislature, and as Pappas explained after attending the Global iGaming Summit in San Francisco:
“A horse track representative spoke at the conference and made it clear that they still have powerful allies in the assembly and senate, and that it would be wholly unacceptable to have a bill that excluded them. Some tribal representatives made it clear that it’s wholly unacceptable to them that the tracks be included. Without some accommodation made, the bill will probably sit shelved.”
Furthermore, Californian horse tracks interests have now lost their biggest proponent after State Senator Rod Wright was recently suspended for voter fraud and perjury. Needless to say, the Californian online poker saga has a long way to go before the affluent US state with an economy worth almost $2 trillion joins the country’s  other regulated states of Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey. The situation


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