California Democratic Sen. Lou Correa Senate Bill 40 that is trying to legalize Internet gambling within the state got another major endorsement this week from the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA). The main reason cited for the endorsement over other bills currently being looked at is that Correa’s is specific to online poker.
This is the first time that CNIGA has endorsed any bill looking to regulate online gambling in California. All together the association represents 29 tribes. California is still looking for ways to fill in the gap of a $25 billion budget shortfall.
According to the Senator Correa, $13 billion from approximately 2 million Californians are wages on offshore poker sites each year. He is trying to bring some of this revenue back into the coffers of the state. Basically saying that Californians are already doing it, why don’t we tax it and benefit from it.
According to Tulchin Research survey recently, voters are concerned about the state budget deficit and feel online poker could provide the answer. More specifically, 66% support regulating online poker and this number also shows bipartisan support.
Californians also seem to favor (76%) the experience of the gaming operators already in the state and want to see the revenue and jobs that online gambling would create stay in California. Another interesting figure is that 84% would rather have California regulate online poker than to have it regulated nationally.
Now the question becomes, with the support of the voters of California and a major gaming association in its corner, could Senate Bill 40 make its way to the Governor’s desk in California?