We’re getting closer and closer to crunch time in California, and if the state is going to pass an online poker bill they are going to need to kick their efforts into high gear. We’re no longer in the polite stages of this discussion, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and hammer out a deal.
The legislative deadline for bills to pass their house of origin is June 1, so it appears that any online poker bill coming out of Sacramento this year will have to be introduced using legislative workarounds… workarounds which are available. Despite the deadline lawmakers and the tribal interests continue to discuss their options which is a very positive sign.
In this week’s look at California iGaming we’ll point you towards the recent data submitted by Capitol Matrix Consulting concerning California’s potential online poker industry and why it’s both positive and potentially negative; we’ll update you on the latest legislative efforts, and why the two current online poker bills might be scrapped in favor of a new one; and we’ll take a look at a recent story from the LA Times concerning PokerStars and California.
Capitol Matrix Consulting’s analysis
During last month’s online gambling conference a lot of data and facts were bandied about, and one of the companies offering up their assessment of the California online poker industry was Capitol Matrix Consulting which seems to have a far more optimistic view of the market than most other consulting firms.
CMC feels the California online poker market could be worth over $500 million in year 1, which is a far cry from other estimates, such as Gambling Compliance, which put the estimates at a more reasonable $300 million in year 1.
It should be noted that unreasonable expectations in New Jersey has led to a lot of grumblings in the state over the online gambling industries failings, hopefully the CMC projections do not cause the same effect in California… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
New poker bill coming this week?
Well, it’s not so much a new poker bill as a rehashing and combining of the two poker bills that are already sitting in the California State Senate and State Assembly right now.
We discussed this new bill in detail earlier last week but it looks like all of California’s tribes are now on the same page (sans the Morongos who were left out of the discussion) and are ready to submit a new bill to the state legislature as soon as this week.
This new bill will come just in time for a second scheduled hearing on online poker, and depending on what the bill contains in terms of “bad actor” language we may soon have our answer to whether or not 2014 is the year that California passes an online gambling bill.
PokerStars and California get some LA Times attention
The PokerStars situation in California has certainly gotten a lot of attention in iGaming circles and across the internet poker forums, but now it’s also getting a lot of mainstream headlines, including the LA Times.
In the article, journalist Michael Hiltzik opines if PokerStars will be left out of California online poker, but of course the bigger story could be the death of California’s online poker bill over this single issue.
California iGaming Barometer
As I said in the opening, the next few weeks appear to be a do or die time for online poker in Cali.
Previously I had held a tepid view of the state’s chances of passing legislation this year (I was about 25% that they could get it done) but more and more it looks like it’s either happening or not, and it could go either way at this point.
Things have certainly become more complicated with the addition of PokerStars into the fray, but the state has gone from a myriad of small problems, to just one larger problem, which seems like progress to me.
When things start to get hashed out somebody needs to step up, look at both sides, and say, “Are you really going to let this one single issue ruin everything?”