Thursday August 18, 2011 : Protagonists embark on a pricey television and radio campaign
California's increasingly hot debate on the legalization of intrastate online poker…and who should benefit from it…continues to generate media interest in the Golden State as the different interest groups push for dominance.
InfoPowa readers will recall that there are two competing bills in the legislative system, each with different ideas on how the licensing should be carried out.
With only a month left in the current legislative session, the California Online Poker Association, a coalition of tribal groups and Californian land card rooms hoping to benefit from exclusivity contained in Senator Lou Correa's SB40, upped the ante by launching a television and radio campaign this week.
The campaign plays on the favourable impact that state taxes flowing from legalization could have, urging Californians to contact their political representatives in support of the Correa bill.
"Unfortunately, nurses, police, fire and services for the poor and disabled will all be cut again if California doesn't find $4 billion in new revenue by December," the radio ad warns against a background of dreary music.
"There is a solution. By approving online poker, California has the ability to tap $250 million in new money immediately and billions in years to come.
"California needs the money and Californians need the jobs."
However, there is opposition to COPA, mainly from other tribal groups who feel that they are not getting enough of the financial action under the Correa proposal.
Acting under the banner of the California Tribal Business Alliance, these groups have written to members of the California legislature appealing to them not to act on internet gambling in the remaining weeks of the current legislative session.
"Even though there have been hearings on the matter of intrastate internet poker, many fiscal, legal, technical and policy related questions must be resolved before adoption of any intrastate internet gaming legalization," the letter asserts.
"There are numerous stakeholders who stand to be irreparably harmed should legalization be ‘ram-rodded' through this legislative year and this surely would be a disservice to all Californians, Tribal and Non-Tribal, alike," says the letter, which is signed by Robert H. Smith, chairman of the California Tribal Business Alliance.
"For these reasons, we believe the Legislature should not take any action on intrastate internet poker legalization during the final month of the legislative year and should instead opt to utilize the Interim to work with all interested parties to develop a consensus bill."
The Californian Assembly's Governmental Organization Committee has scheduled a hearing on internet gambling for August 24 at 1:30 p.m. in room 4202 of the state Capitol.