The state has a budget gap of $14.5 billion dollars through 2011 according to Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger as of November 2009. Shortfalls are also taking place in gaming revenue from Indian casinos and lottery programs, so legislators are open to expand taxation sources. In early 2009, the California Online Poker Law Enforcement Compliance and Consumer Protection Act (AB2026) was sponsored by the Poker Voters of America (PVA), and is being considered for adoption by the lawmakers in Sacramento. Other attempts to open intrastate gaming websites are being backed by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, which is meeting with heavy opposition from other tribes who want to make sure they are represented fairly as part of the action. Also involving themselves in the fray are the card clubs throughout the state like the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.
The problems in Sacramento are huge, with the unemployment benefit trust fund in the negative by $4,428,661,492.60 for the month of September 2009. Furloughs resulting in 210,000 state workers having the number of days each month they can work are being cut as a cost cutting move. They are not alone as a Wall Street Journal article written on September 4, mentioned that other states such as Michigan, Maine, Georgia, Wisconsin and Maryland have begun to do the same. Rhode Island attempted to do the same but had its furlough closure plan stopped by a judge.
Currently, Sacramento legislature has decided to take a look at regulation of the market next year in 2010. Plus efforts on the federal level have slowed somewhat due to growing economic problems that have gained notice and priority within the eyes of the Obama administration. But this has not stopped the flow of offshore gaming representatives visiting the Golden State and others to meet with lobbyists and licensees in order to gain an opportunity for operating intrastate online gaming. The list of visitors has included William Hill, Bwin and Playtech hoping to profit and gain a foothold within the states that are considering intrastate gaming. Such an establishment within different states would be a highly desired step to participating in the top online gambling market on earth, if Internet gaming were regulated on a federal level.
The hoops that online gaming companies will have to jump through will be many as decisions are weighed by the states. Some are thinking that they may not get the chance to jump at all. For example, could states gain more profit by getting rid of the competition altogether and setting up their own shops. The online gambling companies can claim hundreds of thousands of players in the US already, which may make the state run gambling efforts harder to profit from, (or from another viewpoint, not as profitable as they could be). And even though many see a cascade taking place after a few states regulate online gambling successfully, different states may have different frameworks and laws for operation making it tough to jump to the federal level of regulation when their laws are worked out in the future.
One state, Florida, is also currently looking at the options. In a recent study provided to the Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, Florida will be able to generate $100,000,000 annually by its third year from regulation of Internet play. It is based on the state of Florida selecting a private operator(s) through a bidding process. All information is being reviewed, with the findings to be reported to the Florida state Senate on December 1st 2009. slot88