The chances of California legalizing intrastate online poker this year are rather slim, especially considering the fact that the state’s legislative session will last just one more month. However, a reliable source recently informed poker media that “anything is possible.”
If no progress is made on SB 687 or SB 51 before the deadline of mid-September, the issue of legalizing online poker in the state will not be considered even in a special end-of-the-year session. This means that the issue of online poker legalization will have to be pushed to the next year.
Several people in California have been advocating online poker legalization for years. According to a reliable source, no progress has been made on the proposed online poker bills this year because of the same conflicting interests. California is home to several Indian tribes that cannot decide who should get the license to run online poker services in the state. Gambling companies in California are against non-California commercial casinos to grab a share in California’s regulated online gambling market, especially considering the fact that California is the most populated state in the US.
In May 2013, David Quintana, a representative of several Indian tribes working on a solution to the problem, informed Card Player that chances of online poker being legalized in California in 2013 were about 50 – 50.
On the brighter side, there is one positive change in the state of affairs regarding online poker legalization in California. A few lawmakers are in favor of the idea of California forming interstate online poker compacts with neighboring US states in a bid to create larger player pools for online poker tournaments and cash games. This was not the case last year when a source in California said that the state is not in favor of sharing player pools with other states, especially Nevada.
While various gambling groups in California are unable to come to a consensus, Nevada has already legalized and regulated intrastate online poker and launched Ultimate Poker, the first licensed online poker room in the US, a few months back. New Jersey has also legalized several forms of online gambling, including online poker, and is expected to launch real money gaming sites soon.
Meanwhile, South Point, a Nevada-based gambling company has its eye on California. According to Rick Kulis, who is the vice president for South Point Hotel and Casino, Nevada is just waiting for California to “come on board.”