California Casino Operators Take to the Airwaves Demanding Legalized Online Poker

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
California Online Poker

There is an uproar in Sacramento, California’s capital.  The 8th largest economy in the world is considering the legalization of online poker and its land-based casinos aren’t sitting patiently waiting for this to happen.  They want legalized Internet poker now.

A handful of these casinos placed ads on local radio and television stations urging lawmakers to pass a measure legalizing the activity. 

The ads were placed by the California Online Poker Association and promote online poker as a way to boost state revenues and prevent deep budget cuts. 

The spots started airing in the Sacramento area this week. Legislators are less than a month away from the deadline to act on bills this year.

“Online poker will provide California with $250 million dollars immediately and billions more in the future,’’ said Ryan Hightower, a spokesman for the association.

Casinos pushing for the new law include Commerce Casino, Bicycle Club, Hollywood Park Casino and operators of American Indian gaming facilities, including the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

Not everyone in the casino sector is on board, however.

Some American Indian tribes have joined the California Tribal Business Association, which sent a letter to legislators on Tuesday expressing concerns over Internet poker stealing away business. 

"There are numerous stakeholders who stand to be irreparably harmed should legislation be 'ram-rodded' through this legislative year, and this surely would be a disservice to all Californians, tribal and nontribal alike," Robert H. Smith, chairman of the alliance, wrote in the letter to lawmakers.

The long established European poker software firm Playtech, which trades publicly on the London Stock Exchange, announced this summer its alliance with COPA to provide its “free-to-play” poker platform to California residents by year’s end. 

- Chris Costigan, Publisher