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Objections to California Legal Online Poker Plan

February 12, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – As the drive to legalize online poker in California picks up steam, some high-profile voices are coming out strongly against the plan.

“Even if we thought that an expansion of legalized gambling was a good way to raise state revenues — which we do not — this ill-considered idea would not pass muster,” writes the Bay Area’s Contra Costa Times.

The objection? The fact that the proposal permit Internet poker in the state by “establishing a single licensed entity.” The amount of the take the government could expect in taxes has not yet been made clear, states the editorial, and so the plan would not be likely to help much in the state’s budget crisis.

That seems to be a limited view; the plan hasn’t even entered California’s legislative process yet. It’s at that time that the state could be expected to specify what cut it would take, and therefore how much money it could make. To object on these grounds at this early date seems to indicate a cover-up for a deeper-seated disapproval of online gambling in general.

The editorial seems to confirm that suspicion with this statement: “We understand that trying to balance California’s budget is a frustrating process that too often has spawned unsound solutions. Internet poker is among the worst of them and should be rejected by the Legislature.”

That’s to be expected; online gambling brings out such a gut negative reaction among some quarters that full approval is never going to happen. Still, when it comes time to vote on a possible bill, will lawmakers disregard this kind of posturing and weak arguing, or take it seriously? And, for that matter, given the national movement to legalize online gambling and overturn the UIGEA, would it even be a good thing if California set up its own online poker network, which would probably exclude international operators (in other words, the affiliate programs most marketers currently partner with)?

Click here to read the original editorial at the Contra Costa Times.