California is not being left behind Las Vegas in launching their free online poker sites. The groups that want make online gambling in legal in California hope that this will show lawmakers how popular this idea will be.
Like other states, California’s bid to become the first state to allow online gambling within its borders stalled this year. Proponents though are already looking towards January to renew their efforts.
A group of card room owners and casino owning tribes got together this year and formed the California Online Poker Association and sponsored Senate Bill 40 that would legalize online poker in California. COPA spokesperson Ryan Hightower said, “This is pretty much what online poker would look like as a real money game. It will absolutely serve as an example of the popularity of online poker in California.”
Monday, the group launched CalShark.com, a free online poker website for U.S. players. The Barona tribe launched its website as well last month. Obviously there is no money involved for the brink and mortar casinos but there is an opportunity to introduce a brand to the online gambling world. It shouldn’t be long before the money will follow.
According to lobbyist David Quintana,
“Right now just about every single tribe that’s not (part of the California Online Poker Association) is at work at some level doing the same thing. So there are going to be more free sites in California than you can shake a stick at.”
“It’s branding, creating customer loyalty, getting a database,” he added. “Then when something happens to make it legal they can flip the switch from a free site to a paid site.”
According to a poll conducted last month, 53% of California support legalizing and taxing online poker. Looks like the race is on and maybe January will finally see an online poker proposal everyone can live with.