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Thursday, 17 May 2012 08:03

California Debates Legalising Online Poker Games

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As the state of California debate infrastructure spending cuts, the Senate may find salvation in internet gambling.

California may be the Golden State, but its economy is suffering. In the face of a $16bn budget deficit, voters are being warned that cuts to education and law enforcement are necessary if they do not approve a series of tax hikes. But there may be a solution in the pipeline: legalising online poker games and reaping the revenue benefits.

Following the Obama administration's declaration that online gambling is not prohibited by federal law, several states have begun the necessary debates to determine whether or not internet gambling should be legalised. So far, Nevada has passed legislation allowing internet poker and is awaiting specific federal permission.

It's a huge market; experts estimate that $40bn is generated by online gaming in the US, all of which is run by overseas sites and therefore untouchable to the State's revenue department. Some 2 million people play online poker in California alone, but since the sites are unregulated it leaves the citizens vulnerable.

The authors of the bill, Roderick Wright and Darrell Steinberg, say that $200 million could be generated in its first year. With such compelling financial reasons, the California Senate may finally decide that it is time to legalise internet poker.