t is still unclear how many hubs might be authorised by the California legislature in the potential legislation. California Senator Roderick Wright will attend the Global iGaming Summit & Expo (GIGSE) in Montreal to consult with the industry on that issue.
In an exclusive interview with Clarion Gaming, organiser of GIGSE, Senator Wright quotes the potential revenue to be realised in the Golden State as ranging from us$ 50 million to us$ 1.5 billion a year, depending on how many players will migrate from the off-shore sites to those licensed by the state and on the future growth of the player base. An important factor in the legalisation process is the potential loss of the revenue from tribal gaming.
“It is my position that not one state authorized iipoker [intrastate internet poker] game will be played until the courts rule on whether or not iipoker violates tribal gaming exclusivity and, correspondingly, if ipoker places tribal governments revenue sharing with the state at risk.”
The legalisation process will also need to address a number of policy and political issues, which include consumer protection, age verification, geo-location, fraud, transparency, potential conflicts with other laws and agreements in the state, operator vetting process, the impact of the iipoker on the existing gaming operations in the state and the revenue projections for the state. Finally, as Senator says in the interview, “until there is a critical mass of support [amongst stakeholders] for any specific proposal, it is unlikely that any authorization proposal will be successful”.
Commenting on the federal bills that aim to legalise internet gaming, Senator Wright applauds the ‘opt out’ provisions that will allow California to analyse the implications of the federal law and to determine whether it’s best for California to participate in the federal system or to develop its own. Regardless of the developments on Capitol Hill, as Wright says, “it may be in the state’s best interest to enact iipoker legislation before the federal government authorizes online poker".