California considers online poker

Jun 30, 2009 5:07 PM
Staff & Wire Reports |

With California’s budget deficit growing at an exponential rate, state legislators are considering a bill that would legalize in-state online poker and generate millions in state taxes.

Ex-Assemblyman Lloyd Levine (pictured) introduced a bill last year that was thought to be a way of skirting the federal ban on online gambling. The proposition confined online poker to within the boundaries of the state of California.

Supposedly, this would allow Internet providers and poker players to connect and be therefore subject to the laws within California.

This law, if passed, would provide needed tax revenues for the ailing state economy. At this time California’s fortunes are not looking that good with a $25 billion budget deficit looming.

Sacramento insiders say legislators are seriously considering the possibility of approving Levine’s proposal. An estimated $250 million would be the revenues generated by enacting the new legislation, putting aside the moral debate and letting poker players have their game online.

Jim Tabilio president of the Poker Voters of America said that he feels encouraged after the legislators said the bill will likely pass if it meets consumer protection requirements. They want to be sure the industry operators will be controlled by the tribal casinos and poker rooms that are already licensed by the state of California.

"The framework bill has a majority in support of the concept in both the Assembly and the Senate, and has a group of legislators, including people in the leadership in both houses, ready to take it forward," Tabilio said. "This means we’re probably going to be able to get the bill through in mid-summer."

Should California be successful in making the concept a reality, and online poker eventually comes to pass in the state, many gambling consultants concur that it will only be a matter of time before other states follow suit to enhance their own tax revenues.

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