This Tuesday, the California Online Poker Association threw in its support for a state Senate bill which would make legal internet poker. Like many recent legislative efforts, the time crunch and inevitability of legalized online poker have been offered as strong motivators for quick passage. In the final informational hearing for the bill, Senator Lou Correa said plainly, “Time is not on our side… I suggest we keep California as a can-do state, and move forward this year.”
Sen. Correa is moving fast to attempt to make California the first to state to legalize the online poker, which would likely be a highly profitable move. He believes the bill, in over ten years, would create $1.4 billion in desperately needed revenue, and approximately 1,300 jobs. Only last month, Nevada governor Brian Dandoval signed into law a requirement for Nevada to implement internet gambling regulations by January, 2012.
The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, based in Palm Springs, CA, is strongly opposing the bill. At the hearing, vice-chairman of the tribe Jeff Grubbe spoke against the proposal, arguing that it would be in the better of interests of both California and the tribe if the state were to have more time with gambling legislation. Grubbe said, “We foresee no successful action on this front in either 2011 or 2012. We believe you have the time to carefully construct a proposal. We urge you to take the time to get it right.”
These remarks constitute a noticeable shift in position by the tribe, who have for many years maintained a neutral stance to online poker. Independent consultant Patrick Dorinson commented, “Clearly, it means tribes are realizing if they don’t get this done, the federal government will do this for them – and the federal government has never been good for tribes in our history.”