No Online Poker for California in 2015Published September 29, 2015 by Elana K
On September 11, California's legislative session closed for 2015, making online gambling a hope only for the distant future.
Despite putting up a good fight, pro-online poker proponents in California saw their hopes dashed last week when the 2015 legislative session in California came to a close on September 11, with no consensus reached between card clubs, tribal groups, outside firms and racetracks on the future on online poker. So while experts estimate that California has a potential online gaming market of $380 billion a year, none of that money will come into state coffers in 2015.
It’s hard to say exactly what else got in the way of passing iGaming regulation in California, especially when there was so much outside support, such as, “Let California Play,” a poker tour geared towards raising awareness for the grassroots organization, Californians for Responsible iPoker.
But one cause can definitely be seen in the tribal gaming disagreements; tribes were not able to come to an agreement about how to regulate online poker and who should be eligible to get licenses. (To get an idea of how powerful tribes are, crunch these numbers: Tribal gaming in the United States currently takes in $28.5 billion a year, with California tribal gaming making up $7.3 million of that pie.)
But it wasn't only disagreeing tribes that did it; according to Chris Grove, founder of GroveIG, an independent consultancy serving stakeholders in the U.S. regulated online gambling market, a number of things went wrong in 2015, and these issues are what iGaming supporters should focus on in 2016: Increasing voter pressure, giving California’s regulatory agencies the resources they need to act, stopping to talk about specific poker companies and focus on poker, the game, and finally, getting a good deal for the racing industry, and get them to take it.
An easy, 4-pronged plan, right? While in theory it seems possible, only time will tell whether the voters and lawmakers are ready to push for legalized online poker in the Golden State in 2016.