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California Online Poker Legalization Debate Heats Up

February 1, 2010 (CAP Newswire) The recent meeting of casino-owning tribes in California may not have yielded much progress in the quest to regulate online poker in the Golden State, but the movement seems to be picking up momentum nonetheless.

In a pair of articles on the situation, California political website Capitol Weekly not only explains the current online poker crusade but also endorses it.

“The Senate Governmental Organization Committee will take up the question of Internet poker when it meets on Feb. 9,” explains Malcolm Maclachlan in the first article, last week’s “Internet poker is point of tribal contention – again”. (Read it here.)

“No new legislation has been introduced. However, the proposal does seem to have some people talking about the potential revenue streams to the state from online poker.”

On the same day, Martin Owens, writing for the same paper, laid out the argument for regulating online poker:

“Legalizing online poker here is not an issue of gambling expansion,” Owens writes. “California has allowed licensed online companies to take horseracing bets since 2001. For Internet poker, it’s a matter of properly regulating a gambling phenomenon that is already well established … this online industry is exclusively in the hands of operators located offshore, unlicensed and unregulated in this state. Today this ‘gray market’ is worth almost $1 billion per year in California alone.  But that revenue goes only to these offshore operators, who have registered nearly two million Californians to play on their  foreign sites. That means more than $2 million a day is leaving the state. The offshore sites reap hundreds of million in profits from California, but don’t pay a penny in taxes.” Click here to read Owens’ full article at the Capitol Weekly.

The end result? Progress may be difficult, but this issue is definitely not going away. But will it affect the rest of the U.S.? To answer that, it may be best to consider the popular phrase “as goes California, so goes the nation”…