Currently there are only three states in the United States that have legalized online poker. Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have all legalized online poker in the last 12 months and the response has been encouraging. The competition from online gambling companies to get a state license and be the first to capitalize on the market share has been intense.
Reports suggest that there are another 10 states who are considering legalizing online poker and California is reported to be one of these states. As of now, there are 2 bills on the table and if they get approved, then California will be next in line to legalize online poker. Since California has a population of close to 38 million, online gambling companies are already battling it out to be first in line to grab a piece of this lucrative market that is estimated to be nearly 14 times the size of Nevada.
PokerStars, one of the biggest online gambling companies in the world is doing everything it can to be the first company to launch in California but it is facing stiff opposition from a number of fronts, most especially from the California Tribal Business Alliance.
In the past, PokerStars was one of the companies that came under fire during the infamous Black Friday investigations. Since then, PokerStars’ has paid out $731 million as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice and has looked to re-establish its brand as a reliable and dependable online gambling company.
To enter into the California market, PokerStars is reported to have collaborated with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, who run the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon. If the Morongo Band of Mission Indians do collaborate and provide their support, then PokerStars will have a strong chance of obtaining an online gambling license in the state of California.
However the California Tribal Business Alliance (CTBA) has openly opposed the entry of PokerStars saying that if the state of California passes a bill to legalize online poker that bill must include a special “bad actor” clause that will automatically prevent PokerStars from entering into California due to its past history which is tainted. CTBA Chairperson Leslie Lohse said
We will strongly oppose any legislation which allows PokerStars to participate
Experts predict that if the Native American gaming industry can come to an agreement on the terms of the new internet poker bill, then online poker could launch as early as 2015 in the state of California.