Opinion: Tribes must be at table for Internet poker in California

A sample online poker game. Image from Full Tile Poker

Steven Miller of the Poker Players Alliance discusses the debate over Internet poker in California:
According to a survey conducted by the Poker Players Alliance, an estimated 15 million Americans play real-money online poker, including millions of Californians. Unfortunately they are doing so on unregulated foreign sites with operators who are completely unaccountable to regulators and law enforcement, and who offer zero consumer protection.

Authorizing and regulating Internet poker in California is the only way to provide security and safety. As has been proved in other states and countries, a well-regulated online poker market can ensure protection of players’ winnings, weed out fraud and collusion, prevent underage play and detect problem gamblers – all while ensuring that online poker operators are held to the highest standards of accountability and ethics.

The scare tactics being spewed by anti-poker lobbyists simply do not pass the credibility test. The same technology safeguards that allow consumers to safely bank, shop and even complete real estate transactions online also exist to allow and promote a vibrant and well-regulated online poker market.

Also, authorizing and regulating Internet poker enables state governments to collect revenue that is currently benefiting only offshore economies. According to an analysis released by a coalition of California tribes, a legal and licensed intrastate online poker market could generate $845 million for state government and more than 2,600 new jobs within five years.

So in the six years that California has been debating this issue, hundreds of millions of dollars in potential revenue for the state has already been lost, to the detriment of programs like education and health care.

What’s it going to take to finally get over the hump?

Get the Story:
Steven J. Miller: California is running out of time to ante up for online poker (The Sacramento Bee 2/23)

Another Opinion:
Nolan Dalla: Ten reasons why online poker could get outlawed in the U.S. (Casino City Times 2/23)

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