Thursday May 14,2015 : L.A. TIMES URGES LAWMAKERS TO FOCUS ON THE PLAYERS
Ignore the in-fighting in the sector and concentrate on protecting consumers in the debate on internet poker, suggests op-ed article.
The California mass circulation newspaper LA Times has suggested in an op-ed article that the online poker legalization debate in the state has been going on for too long, and that lawmakers should concentrate on the protection of the consumer and ignore the feuding among various interested industry parties.
"Rather than picking winners and losers among tribes and card rooms, lawmakers should set eligibility requirements that protect consumers from fraud and exploitation, and then let state regulators decide who meets them," the newspaper declares.
Importantly, that supports the proposition that the Californian regulator is the best qualified and most experienced authority to impartially decide who should hold an online gambling licence in the event that legalization is approved.
This position, already taken by the Pokerstars-Tribal-Cardrooms faction, would remove obstacles to legalization such as the incessant squabbling over the inclusion of a "bad actor" clause in any proposed measure.
"Like it or not, an enormous number of Californians are playing poker online already. Establishing a legal, regulated poker system would also enable the state to track and tax gambling revenue, raising money for oversight and enforcement," the article asserts, noting that modern technology exists to combat problem gambling and money laundering, and exclude criminal elements and the underaged.
The newspaper suggests that a cautious first step would be to limit the field to entities that have already passed muster with other US state licensing boards and have a long record of compliance with state gambling regulations. That would suggest that the newspaper regards tribal attempts to keep the racetracks out of an online poker market as illogical and unfair.
The piece concludes by opining:
"The internecine fight within the gambling industry may very well prevent online poker legalization from becoming law. But lawmakers shouldn't confuse failing to set up a legitimate market for online poker with striking a blow against online gambling.
"A regulated online poker industry is better for the public than the unregulated and illegal games found today in the underground Internet. And more competition in that market is better than less competition."