Online poker legislation in California has been on the table for years, but disagreements between a number of players have – so far – kept online gaming from becoming a reality in the Golden State. However, news that rival American Indian casinos are beginning to cooperate with each other may be a good sign for online gamblers in California.
The big issue under consideration is whether or not to license horse racing tracks to be able to operate online poker websites. The native American casinos have agreed to meet and attempt to resolve this issue. The American Indian casinos are one of the biggest players in the effort to legalize online gaming in the state.
The race tracks themselves are another powerful player with a stake in the legalization process. To date, the American Indian casinos have had trouble making the racing industry happy, as both groups have been trying to maximize their involvement in the eventual profits of online gaming. A number of tribal casinos are in staunch opposition to allowing race tracks to be licensed for online poker.
In fact, the sticking point is the race tracks. American Indian casinos have begun to come to a consensus on allowing “affiliate” licensing agreements, but the racing industry wants nothing less than full license rights under the new law. The industry is so far unwilling to share profits with the native American casinos.
In the end, it may be technology that pushes both sides together. Slot machine revenue is declining, as younger generations prefer online and mobile gambling to sitting in a physical casino. The longer the tribes and race tracks can not come to an agreement, the more revenue they lose, giving up market share to sites and states that have already legalized online poker.
In any case, the sooner the tribes and racing industry can agree on compromises, California may become the latest state to move towards legalization of online gambling. The more states that legalize online casinos, the more push there will be for legalized online sports betting and other types of gambling now prohibited throughout much of the United States.