Nearly 52% of California residents are opposed to regulated online poker. That’s the startling finding of a recent survey conducted by a group of California Indian tribes.

This new information comes on the eve of a key vote by California lawmakers on a long-delayed bill to legalize online poker in the Golden State.

It’s worth noting that the sponsors of the bill, a coalition of Indian tribe including the powerful Pechanga tribe, are vehemently opposed to several provisions contained in AB2863. In particular, they’re dead set against language in the bill which allows foreign operators to take wagers from California residents (though that’s not how they’re spinning their survey results).

More specifically, California Indian tribes aren’t very interested in competing with established online operators like PokerStars. That’s why they’ve adopted the “bad actor” argument as a key talking point in their efforts to keep online poker out of California.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, as reported on by, Pechanga Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro lent his interpretation of the survey’s results saying:

Voters are clearly skeptical about legalizing online poker. Even more toxic are provisions that would grant a license to foreign websites that illegally took bets from Californians in violation of federal law.

Macarro’s description of how the electorate feels about online poker is remarkably similar to how he and his tribe feel about online poker. Tribal gaming interests have fought online poker at every turn by throwing wrench after wrench into the political process.

As for surveys, their results should usually be taken with a grain of salt, and an eye on who’s conducting them. A recent article on points out that a 2015 survey conducted by the California Online Poker Association, found that 66% of Californians were in favor of regulated online poker.

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