The regulations for online poker in California are “dead” for 2013
With the recent commotion taking place in the United States regarding a federal online poker bill, more attention is being directed towards states that look to pass their own regulations. As Nevada leads the charge and New Jersey is not far away, it would seem that California will have to wait at least until next year for its regulations to be ready.
Despite the fact that the California online poker regulations showed a lot of promise earlier this year, a big portion of the politicians in the state believe that it is “dead”, at least for 2013, and will most likely try again in 2014.
There are 3 bills now proposed or in committee regarding online poker but none of them have managed to get past the committee phase. This means that the bills can only be reintroduced next year but there is no guarantee that the results will not turn out to be the same. If things looked good for California just a few months ago, it does seem that it is no longer in the online gaming race in the United States. The interesting thing is that the first site that went live in Nevada has shown a lot of potential and dealt over 10 million hands in just a few months.
Bumps along the way
It is safe to say that poker is very popular in the United States and many players would like to play over the internet, at regulated online poker rooms. So why don’t more states legalize online poker? The answer is pretty simple as the opposition from the Indian tribes and the image online gambling has amongst the general population is more than enough to discourage politicians to get behind these bills. California has quite a few horse racing tracks and poker rooms but they can’t seem to reach a common ground that would allow for everybody to benefit over the internet.
The Indian tribes even proposed a bill in May this year in order to bring together the different parties involved. A spokesperson stated that the bill was drafted in order to bring together the leaders from each tribal government and discuss the benefits and the challenges that come with online poker. Of course, arguably the biggest factor that causes problems for change to take place is the vast amount of money at stake.
The live gaming industry in California is quite big, with Tribal gaming bringing in about $7 billion just a few years ago. The Indian tribes will continue to look for ways to protect their investments and do their best to prevent any outside form of competition. Needless to say that online gaming would bring a lot of new operators to the market and the players are quite likely to opt for the internet version, thus cutting into the Indian profits. Some bills also look to prevent Indian tribes from going online which would deny them this revenue stream.
Biggest potential market
Earlier this year, the potential online poker market in California started pretty well but then reached an impasse that will most likely continue all the way through 2014. The importance of California on the online poker map is very significant for a prosperous industry in the United States. With over 38 million residents, California would overshadow any of the other states that are looking to legalize online poker. Since the regulations only allow for players within state borders to access the online offer, operators that are granted a license in California would see the most traffic. There is also the potential of intrastate compacts to mention and Nevada is the most likely state to partner with the companies in California. However, without the factions coming to an agreement in California, online poker regulations remain pretty farfetched.