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Column: Internet gaming seen as threat to established industry


Filed Under: California | Opinion
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The prospect of Internet gaming has divided tribes in California and even has a non-Indian gaming mogul arguing against it:
Internet gambling appears to be on the verge of exploding in the U.S. Last year, according to the gaming industry consulting firm Gambling Compliance, 10 states considered, enacted, or launched Internet gambling programs. Nevada began offering online poker in April, New Jersey launched online poker and other games including slot machine-like gaming in late November, and Delaware a full suite of games in early November. All three states use technological means to ensure that players are physically located within the state lines.

That could pose a threat to established gambling interests, whether they're Las Vegas casinos, on Midwestern riverboats or on American Indian tribal lands.

In California, the issue has driven a wedge between casino-owning American Indian tribes that on many other issues have presented a united front. Some even have been driven into alliances with card clubs, which traditionally had found themselves on the opposite side from the tribes on questions of gambling expansion. Most of the tribes see Internet gambling as "a threat, not an opportunity," one tribal source told me, but the big gaming tribes have come around to the idea that legalizing Internet poker and licensing tribes and card clubs to offer it "may be the best way to approach that threat."

Get the Story:
Michael Hiltzik: Concerns growing over how spread of online gambling will play out (The Los Angeles Times 2/16)

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