Thursday May 21,2015 : CALIFORNIA REGULATORS CONFIDENT ON HANDLING LEGALISED ONLINE POKER (Update)
State Assembly-Senate joint informational hearing considers the technical and legal implications.
Wednesday's informational hearing on internet poker by California's joint Senate-Assembly Governmental Organization committees was told by the state gambling regulator that, in partnership with the California Department of Justice, legalised online poker… and who is suitable for licensing…can be impartially and professionally regulated.
Tiffany Conklin of the California Gambling Control Commission voiced confidence that the two state bodies could work effectively together in ensuring a safe and strictly controlled intrastate online poker regime, and would have no problems in determining the suitability of companies for a California licence.
She envisaged a process in which the state Department of Justice would enquire into and present a case for an applicant, whilst the final decision on whether to grant a licence would reside with the Commission.
However, Department of Justice representatives warned that this would require a substantial increase in its headcount in order to properly handle the increased workload.
Other presentations dealt with technical, statistical and legal issues, among them the California State Lottery's position. Spokesman Paula LaBrie said the lottery appreciates the potential benefits that could flow from online operations, especially in engaging with the emerging and younger demographics
"It's challenging because most of our people who play the lottery tend to be older," she observed. "One of the challenges it to be able to adapt the lottery to what the world is right now."
The only commercially interested party to make an impact with the committee was the California Horse Racing Board, whose executive director Rick Baedecker made an impassioned plea that the racetracks be included in any legalization on online gambling – a prospect that some tribal interests are strongly resisting .
Baedecker pointed to the long history of horse racing in California and the fact that competitive forms of gambling in the state have resulted in a 45 percent decline in racetrack businesses that employs 50,000 Californians and generates $2.5 billion.
Exemptions for online wagering on horse races, currently 26.6 percent of revenues, had not addressed the decline, he revealed, adding that the industry was not looking for subsidies, but an even playing field to compete in any online gambling industry that might emerge in the state,