For the first time in four years, supporters of online poker in California are not predicting that the practice will be legalized in the upcoming year. Instead, they are predicting that it will be legalized in 2015.
The reason for the delay in a push for online gambling in the Golden State is the upcoming national election in November, which tends to push most parochial concerns to the back burner. Of course, the other two legal gaming groups in the state, card clubs and racetracks, have some say in it too, but not much compared to the tribes.
Although some gaming tribes who hope to profit from it are driving legalized online poker, other tribes who worry that it will cut into the revenue of their brick-and-mortar casinos are opposing it.
According to California Gambling Control Commissioner Richard Schuetz, “I think there’s a belief among our tribal partners that the internet as a distribution network for gambling products could in some ways cannibalize the brick-and-mortar environment.”
Other industry observers think online gaming might actually create more business for physical casinos.