Recent Survey Shows Overwhelming Support for Regulated Online Poker in California

Posted on July 23, 2015

A recent study commissioned by All-In Media House shows that over half of Californians support regulated online poker in the state. All-In Magazine released a report on Monday that reported on the results from the survey and while some numbers show promise for regulation in the state, others show that some citizens are still on the fence in regards to playing online.

Majority of Citizens Support Online Poker

All IN Media House hired the National Research Institute and Survata Inc. to conduct their iGaming study from May 21 through May 28, 2015. The target audience was California voters 21 and over and each interviewee was asked five questions.

The first question presented was whether they wanted California to pass online poker regulations and create significant tax revenues for the state. The results were overwhelmingly positive here with 66% of voters saying yes as opposed to 34% saying they weren’t interested.

This is extremely positive for pro-poker lobbyists in the state as there is significant support for the issue, support that could become vital when negotiations resume next month and into 2016.

Citizens Are Split on Whether They Would Play Online

While citizens are in support of legalizing online poker, not all are actually willing to play. One of the questions in the survey was whether player would play online poker if it were licensed and regulated by the state.

Only 51% said that they would play as opposed to 49% saying that they would not. This is an interesting figure and one that could work a bit against the pro-poker crowd as it shows that citizens may not be willing to put their money where their mouths are.

Californians Would Feel Safe in Regulated Games – Would Still Frequent Live Casinos

Two big questions on the survey will certainly become a battle cry for iPoker supporters trying to convince lawmakers that regulation is the way to go. When asked if citizens would feel safe playing on unlicensed, unregulated and illegal online poker sites operating outside United States, only 15% said that they would.

Furthermore, 71% of those surveyed said that they would feel safe playing online if the sites were regulated and backed by the state. These figures will go a long way in those arguing the safety of regulated online poker versus that of unregulated.

Finally, citizens also quelled the fears among some that online poker would cause cannibalization of brick & mortar casinos. When asked whether playing online would keep them from playing in live casinos, 71% said that it would not. This shows that citizens still enjoy the live experience and online poker would just supplement their gaming experience.

PokerStars Pro Tour Could Become Better Gauge of Who Will Play

Overall, the iPoker survey conducted by All In Media House was a positive one. John Pappas, executive director of the Poker Player’s Alliance, commented on the survey, stating, “The survey results serve to reinforce that internet poker regulation is the right direction for California.

Regulation will provide strong consumer protections and tax revenue, and the survey confirms that it would be complementary to the existing tribal casinos.”

One glaring number in this survey is that only 51% surveyed stated they would actually play online. This number could be cause for concern by some lawmakers and stakeholders as to whether the lofty expectations for iPoker are overstated.

A better measurement on citizen interest is the PokerStars Pro Tour. PokerStars is currently holding their Let California Play! tour with Team Pros helping to educate citizens about online poker. They are also having citizens petition state lawmakers during these events.

PokerStars would be wise to compile and share the number of participants in these events and publish them in the future, as these numbers would give a better indication of those willing to play online.

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James Guill

Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

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