California online poker at one point was deemed all but a certainty for 2014. Now that individual US states have the ability to license and regulate Internet poker and casino gambling for their residents, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware have already done so. But the provision which laid the way for state-sanctioned Internet poker in the United States came into existence in December of 2011. With legally licensed offshore poker providers benefiting financially from US citizens living in those states where online poker is not currently delivered at the state level, it would make sense for cash-strapped states like California to get on board the growing US Internet gambling industry.
If two influential California Indian tribes have their way, that is exactly what is going to happen, and hopefully this year. Groups from the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians have been passing the peace pipe back and forth amid discussions about online poker. Quoted by an industry analyst close to the issue to be “99.9% complete” is a proposal made by those two powerful tribal Indian groups which calls for legalized online poker in the Golden State. Just exactly what is in this proposed legislation is not known, but California tribal lobbyist Jerome Encinas expects a presentation of the Internet gaming piece of legislation to be in the hands of California lawmakers the first week of June.
There have been several issues which have kept Internet poker from becoming a reality in California. As is usually the case regarding any political issue, state Democrats and Republicans have not been able to agree on a piece of legislation which would make Internet poker legal for California residents and visitors. And when progress has been made, it was often times stymied by the many California Indian tribes which currently are legally charged with providing the only legal physical casinos in the state. Getting everyone on the same page has been the premier issue regarding cyber gambling thus far. The San Manuel and Pechanga Indians have hopefully fashioned a piece of legislation which will please everyone.
PokerStars possibly offers a speed bump, however. The Morongo Indian tribe has reached an agreement with a trio of California poker rooms which also includes PokerStars. Unfortunately, PokerStars was indicted in 2011 when the Department of Justice shut down the three largest US poker rooms. That means if there is any type of wording in this newest proposal which excludes previously indicted Internet poker firms from participating, the Morongo Indian tribe would be upset to say the least. If the Pechanga and San Manuel Indians have done their due diligence and received the correct counsel, the proposal they deliver next week will correctly address this eventuality.
Currently, Pennsylvania and California are two of about a dozen states pushing for Internet gambling legalization. California would obviously and immediately become the King of the US Internet gambling industry whenever they joined. Owning the most populous state is a guarantee have a shot at the most profit, and the first year revenue estimates of $500 million provided by industry analysts have got to be hard for California legislators to overlook for much longer. Since the 2014 legislative session in that state runs through August of this year, California could presumably offer legal Internet poker before 2015.