Online poker in California took a knock recently when it was left out of an important state Assembly vote, but things could be even worse than first thought if a new poll holds any weight.
In the wake of Californians being left disappointed once again, the results of an online poker survey commissioned by the coalition of Native American tribes currently opposing Assemblyman Adam Gray’s (D-Merced) AB 2863 has been published.
Led by the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians but carried out by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, the survey suggests that 52 percent of voters in the state “likely” oppose online poker regulation.
This result sits in stark contrast to the 54 percent of voters who stated that they would support online poker regulation back in 2009.
Naturally, a lot has happened since that time, most notably Black Friday in 2011, but the results do suggest that public opinion is turning against the industry.
However, while this news will be seen as another potential blow to the regulatory efforts in the Golden State, it’s worth bearing in mind that public opinions don’t make laws.
Moreover, the language used by those surveyed is telling. Instead of stating that they’d “definitely” vote against online poker regulation, those asked said they were “likely” to vote against it.
Naturally, following the publication of the results, the Pechanga Tribal Chairman Mark Macarro echoed its findings and used it to further his coalition’s arguments against the current version of AB 2863.
“Even more toxic are provisions that would grant a license to foreign websites that illegally took bets from Californians in violation of federal law,” said Macarro.
For those with an eye on the issue over the last few months, this statement could also be seen as telling of the current situation. The Tribal coalition currently opposing AB 2863 is been vehement in its position against PokerStars.
Although not explicitly referenced in Macarro’s recent statement, PokerStars would be classified as a “foreign website” that took bets from Californians post-UIGEA and the coalition doesn’t believe it should be operational in the state.
While it’s possible the recent survey results are a result of voters fearing offshore poker sites, it’s also possible that this is nothing more than a convenient spin that will bolster the Tribal argument.
The fate of online poker in California is now back hanging in the balance and, while Gray and his supporters will continue to push for change, the light at the end of the tunnel appears to be nothing more than a dim glow at the moment.