California’s new governor, Jerry Brown, has made it clear: His goal is to fix the state budget, which has been in crisis mode for years.

So it’s not surprising that more California lawmakers have become less shy about proposing new bills to regulate online poker. Taxing online poker would result in big bucks — not big enough to fix the state budget, but big enough to help.

“I think Californians constitute 40 percent of all (online poker) players (worldwide),” Senator Lou Correa told the Orange County Register.

So, how big is that? Sensing a rare opportunity in state politics to finally get control of online gambling in California, several groups are rushing to publish reports on just how much revenue they think regulated online poker could bring the state. 

The most publicized of these reports has been by the Blue Sky Consulting Group and its leader Tim Gage, former director of the California Department of Finance. That team has released a report concluding that “with a 10% operator fee on gross gambling receipts, the state would initially earn about $82 million each year, but the revenue would exceed $100 million annually after five years,” per the L.A. Times

Blue Sky’s analysis also projects that regulating Internet online poker would give California an additional $193 million in economic activity and create more than 1,100 jobs.

That’s an incentive not easily dismissed, and could be seen as a strong argument in favor of regulating online poker by the people who matter — people like Governor Jerry Brown, for example.


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