Cal., Ill. and N.Y. may take first steps leading to online pokerMarch 13, 2012 3:07 AM by Phil Hevener
California and Illinois – perhaps even New York – may be the source of the first efforts to launch programs that could quickly lead to Internet poker.
That’s a statement based on speculation, of course, but the speculating comes from sources with a good sense of the political and business dynamics at work in each of these areas.
I’m told there are a lot of conflicting viewpoints at work in California where the myriad tribal and gaming industry officials scarcely speak with one voice, "but at some point," a seasoned gaming executive tells me, "it is going to be pointed out to each of these groups that the train has left the station on this issue. It’s going to happen and they should compromise where necessary to begin earning revenue that everyone, including the state, needs."
Does he know when and where such a compromise may begin to take shape?
That’s where he began to get vague, arguing it only stands to reason that something of this sort will take place. "It makes sense," he declared. That does not always have a lot to do with what happens in the world of heavyweight politics.
"And there is something else," he said. "The California population of nearly 40 million (the nation’s most populous state) has everyone’s attention. This could generate some serious revenue and tax dollars…not like trying it in Nevada with a population that is less than a tenth the size of California’s."
A second source points to one of the relatively new arrivals on the Internet gaming scene – state lotteries, which are expected to begin doing business via the Internet well before the end of the year.
"Illinois will probably be up and running within the next three or four months," he said. How quickly the Internet sale of lottery tickets may grow into something more is largely guesswork at this point.
"The feds may get around to filling this regulatory vacuum at some point," my second source said, "but there’s no telling what the gaming landscape will look like by then because some of the states are already developing their own plans."
Coming up on its one-year anniversary, SLS Las Vegas is reinventing itself and has already revamped its slot club, but not its name. The CODE promises a “new club,” with “new tiers” and “new benefits.” It has a four tiered program – Legend, Elite, Premium and Select. Members have a rolling six months to earn toward the next level.