In an article on the likelihood of California legalizing online poker, published on SFGate, freelance writer Michael Shapiro has quoted I. Nelson Rose, professor at Whittier Law School, as having said, “I don’t have any doubt we’ll have legal online poker in California. Only politics is preventing it“.
When Prof. Rose says “politics,” he is talking about California’s influential Indian tribes who are opposing online gaming legalization in California on grounds that it will cannibalize the state’s existing land casino industry. California has already legalized online horse betting. Prof. Rose says,
The tribes have done a tremendous job of using the wealth generated from gaming to gain political power.
Prof. Rose is sure that California will legalize online gaming as it badly requires the tax revenue online gaming can generate. He has predicted that the state will approve an online poker bill in 2015 as the elections will be held in 2014.
On April 15, 2011, a day referred to as Black Friday by the online poker community, the feds cracked down on three major online poker rooms — PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker forcing them to withdraw from the US. In December 2011, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that the Federal Wire Act of 1961 applies only to online sports betting, not online casino and poker gaming. This opened a floodgate of opportunities for US states eager to legalize online gaming, and the first US states to grab this opportunity were Nevada, Delaware, and New Jersey. Today, online poker is legal in these three states and California is expected to be the next US state to legalize online poker.
Jeff Ifrah, a gaming law specialist from Washington D.C. predicted that online gambling will become a booming industry in California if the state permits it :
There haven’t been any incidents where someone has accessed the system and actually played the game from outside of those three states, as far as I know. California coming online would dwarf any success that those other markets had.
Speaking at an interview with OnlinePokerReport.com, Richard Schuetz of the California Gambling Control Commission said that the state is open to legalizing online poker, but not online casino games as the tribes feel that online casinos will cannibalize their land casino businesses.
Ifrah, however, says that online gaming can never cannibalize land casino businesses, but “can actually generate new foot traffic” for them.