Online Poker To Ease Californian Budget DeficitJuly 24, 2009 10:35 am
Poker voters of America’s (PVA) believe there will be legalised online poker in California by 2010 as the states enormous budget deficit rises above $26bn. California-based independent gaming lawyer Martin Owens said: “The state of California now can’t afford to ignore anything that might turn into a reasonable source of revenue, and here you have a multi-billion dollar industry that is volunteering to be taxed.”
Melanie Brenner, the PVA executive director, said: “In California, you can’t pick up a newspaper and not be hit in the face with the budget issue. While in Florida, which is also considering legalising intrastate online poker, you don’t hear about it as much, but as a state, they are looking for revenue sources. That will be something we can use to our advantage.”
Although the Democratically controlled California legislature, last night, passed around 30 measures designed to reduce state spending by $16bn, and included the areas of education, prisons and local government, there will still remain a $10bn deficit in the budget. Considering 12% unemployment and high home repossession rates in the state the PVA believe California must now seriously consider adopting measures to legalise poker.
The PVA have been using their time wisely and over the last few months, while the state legislators have been waiting to vote on their packet of measures to reduce the budget, have been “assembling presentations, confirming financial numbers, unglamorous stuff that will move us forward when we go to the next step”.
H2 Gambling Capital,the gaming information business, believe legalising poker would mean an extra $250m a year for the state, increasing to $625bn in ten years, which would represent a huge boost to the local economy.
Brenner believes the state-by-state drive to legalise online poker is gaining momentum but warned that each state would have to be approached in a unique and specific way: “In Florida, you are not dealing with the complexities of the tribal situation you have in California. Instead, you have a state that is divided between North Florida, which is conservative and mainly Republican, and South Florida, which is more progressive, Democrat, and already has some gaming. We are dealing with a different set of political issues when we move into that state.”