California Casinos Urge For Online Gambling Regulation
In theory, using gambling to solve a lack of funds is never the right move. In fact, anyone who has only half the money they need to pay their bills, and takes that half to gamble in an effort to win the other half, is what we call a ‘problem gambler’. But casinos in California are proposing that gambling would be the perfect solution to the state’s budget crisis.
Okay, maybe I’ve exaggerated the point and perhaps even twisted the theory a bit for effect, but technically speaking that is what they are proposing; just in a different way.
According to the California Online Poker Association (COPA), legalizing online gambling would generate an estimated $1 billion in tax revenue over the next ten years. That is a lot of added income for the state, which is currently suffering a financial calamity of approximately $25 billion in shortages.
COPA, which is made up of numerous casino establishments such as Hollywood Park Casino, Commerce Casino, Hawaiian Gardens casino and several casino-operating Indian tribes, has been pushing a bill to legalize online gambling within the state of California. Considering the recent predicaments in the treasury department, there is no better time for this piece of proposed legislation, known as SB 40, to be making its way through the California Senate.
The association employed the services of Timothy L. Gage, former state finance director, to perform an economic study on the matter. Gage concluded that with a 10% operator fee on gross receipts, online gambling could generate an average of $82 million annually for the first five years, increasing to more than $100 million annually over the following five years.
Those who oppose SB 40 maintain that online poker is not a solution to the problem. Instead, they are pointing out that some Indian casino tribes have gone so far as to threaten withholding tens of millions in slot machine returns should the state choose to open the doors to such high levels of competition to their live establishments.
One adversary of SB 40, Fred Jones, a member of the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, is trying to convince state legislators that the results could actually be devastating to the California budget. Should more families be forced to declare bankruptcy due to the simplicity of gambling online, the effects could be quite the contrary.
Considering that New Jersey just passed a bill to legalize intrastate online casino gambling, and is merely waiting for the governor to sign off on the bill – which is expected to happen within the next month or so – it is much more likely that California will follow suit and choose to legalize some manner of online poker and/or casino gambling. Suffice to say, the coming months should be quite interesting for US online gambling enthusiasts.