California could be moving towards a regulated online poker market this year if several stumbling blocks are successfully overcome.
It is one of the states that generated the most significant revenue from online poker in 2009 and 2010 – 16% from the total US share, and 4% on a global scale. The estimated value of the market is $400 million when operating at full blast.
The Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act introduced last week re-sparked the debate about regulating online poker in the state. However, there are several important obstacles in the way of the new bill.
The most serious bone of contention relates to the so-called “bad actor” clause which many Native American tribes support. This provision prevents powerful international operators from entering the Californian market.
Another piece of legislation that might impact the establishment of online poker in California is the Wire Act. Currently, it only applies to sports betting but does not cover poker. If a re-interpretation of this document is enacted by federal government, the autonomy of individual states to regulate their own poker markets will be greatly restricted.
Last but not least, iPoker seems to no longer be a priority in California, as it appears to have been pushed into the background by daily fantasy sports and esports.