Editorial: Tribes are pulling the strings in Internet gaming battle

"Despite federal and state bans on online poker, as many as 1 million Californians spend a total of about $300 million annually playing the game — typically on websites based outside the country. Lawmakers have been debating for more than four years whether to create a legal outlet for these players but have been stymied by opposition from powerful Indian gambling interests. Those forces appear to have scuttled a new proposal by state Sens. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) and Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) that was sidelined by a Senate committee last week just before a scheduled vote. There's a good argument to be made for legalizing and regulating online poker or, conversely, working more aggressively to ban it. With the tribes pulling the strings in Sacramento, however, California isn't doing either.

Wright's bill (SB 1463) would allow a limited number of parties in the gambling business — tribes with state gambling compacts, card clubs, horse racing tracks and "advance deposit wagering" websites that take bets on horse races — to run poker games online for adults in California after they've been overseen by state regulators for at least three years. To obtain an online poker license, however, they and the company they hire to operate their site would have to undergo a rigorous background examination. They'd also have to pay the state $30 million upfront as a licensing fee and, eventually, 10% of their gross earnings."

Get the Story:
Editorial: California's online poker problem (The Los Angeles Times 6/19)

Related Stories
California Internet poker measure withdrawn before 1st hearing (6/13)