January 8, 2013 : CALIFORNIA SENATOR TALKS ABOUT HIS NEW ONLINE POKER INITIATIVE
Sen. Rod Wright of California is optimistic about his bill's chances this year
Despite having to abandon his intrastate online poker legalization attempt in the California Legislature last year, California Senator Rod Wright remains optimistic about the measure's chances in 2013 following its recent reintroduction.
The publication Online Poker Report managed to get an exclusive interview with the Senator at the recent National Conference of Legislators from Gaming States in Las Vegas in which he explained why his measure SB-51 should succeed when previous attempts failed.
* Wright said that this year interested parties in the issue not only have a better idea of what it is all about, but that a larger number of them have partners which would allow them to participate in a potentially lucrative Californian online poker business.
* The Senator said that California offered greater player liquidity potential than a smaller state like Nevada, which is nevertheless already well advanced in intrastate regulation and licensing and has seen a significant number of large companies and partnerships applying for licenses.
* It would clearly be in the interests of Nevada-licensed operators to be able to pursue players in other states, something that would not be necessary in California due to its larger poker population.
"So as I look at the Nevada game, I believe it to be a stalking horse for federal legalization that will allow them to encroach their borders and come into California," the Senator observed.
* Wright is against federal legalization because it infringes on states' rights. The Senator feels that if individual states wish to legalise intrastate internet gambling or enter into interstate compacts it should be a state prerogative.
"The federal government should not be in the business of controlling or taking money out of the gambling revenues that are generated by the state. That’s never been a federal process, and it shouldn’t begin now," he told Online Poker Report.
* It is likely that as more states enter the online gambling sector there will be a desire to interact with other states in a bid to reach sharing agreements, and such an evolution should be an option available to individual states, not one dictated by federal government. Obviously sharing arrangements include a need for equally effective and compatible regulatory requirements by the participating parties. The states' interactions on lotteries illustrated how these regulatory themes could work, Sen. Wright said.
* Shared liquidity pools also have time-zone advantages, enabling operators to fill seats over a broader timeframe.
* The Senator cautioned that in California regulators would have to "crawl before you can walk", mastering the complexities of regulation completely before looking to create relationships with other like-minded states.
* Wright acknowledged to Online Poker Report that the tribes are a major force in the state gaming business, revealing that the combined revenues of the tribal operations in California are now larger than the take of Las Vegas. It was in their commercial interests to merge land and online gambling so as to broaden commercial opportunities, he opined. Tribal interests could operate some of the internet poker hubs envisioned in California.
* Existing state compacts with tribal gaming interests would not and could not be violated, the Senator stressed
"Clearly we would not be able to violate the compacts that we have, so the Class 2 games that are currently being played in California will be the only games allowed on the Internet platform as well, so it will not be a violation of exclusivity. And we will not go into trying to renegotiate the tribal compacts as they’re written," Wright said.
Read the full report at: http://onlinepokerreport.com/5698/roderick-wright-interview/