California Continues the Online Gambling Debate
The bill authored by California State Senator Lou Correa, in an attempt to have online gambling legalized, has been placed on hold as many of the state’s lawmakers have claimed that there is not enough time, before the end of the year, to refine the law according to the standards necessary for the legislation to vote.
The debate on whether or not to legalize online gambling has been raging for roughly 5 years and there were only a few weeks left of the legislative session when the state’s lawmakers decided to push the bill, labelled SB 1366, until next year. A second bill, labelled as AB 2291, one that would allow for the legalization and regulation of online poker only, has yet to be moved through the committee process and a date for the hearing has yet to be decided.
States such as New Jersey, Delaware and most notably Nevada, have all legalized online gambling and it was long thought that California would be the next state to embrace the process. However, the legislative inaction has meant that the state has been left without any clarity as to when the legalization would happen, if it would happen at all.
There is much optimism that the legalization will occur as the bill has the support of many notable lawmakers. But, many against the legalization of online poker and casino, have attempted to halt the legalization process, most notable of these is the politically active billionaire casino mogul, Sheldon Adelson.
Adelson, the Chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands, has been pouring money into the campaign , a number that sits in the region of $300 000, in an effort to slow, and possibly prevent, the legalization of online gambling, as he fears that it will harm land based casinos where the billionaire made his fortune.
Some of the hurdles faced by the legalization campaigners include the outlawing of a number of sites that were operational before the crackdown and the lawmakers would refuse to grant them new licenses as some are still in the midst of criminal hearings.
Other instances involve the inclusion of the Indian run casinos which many agree are not impossible to negotiate, however they feel the allocated timeframe would not be enough to complete the negotiations successfully.
There was one point during the debate that momentum seemed to be gaining in favor of legalization. That was until one of the key figures, Senator Roderick Wright, was convicted eight different felonies. This drastically slowed the entire process and allowed for the opposition to gain considerable ground.
However, many other states, such as New Jersey, are proving that online casinos can be successful even despite falling well short of earlier estimates, managing to pull in over $10 million dollars. Even the lower earners are still managing to pull in around $500 000 monthly, the same as some of the casinos on the boardwalk.
As it stands now, California may be waiting the outcome of the New Jersey “experiment” before committing themselves. But, if New Jersey and Nevada are anything to go by, California could see the legalization and regulation of online casinos and poker websites by the middle of 2015.
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