One would reasonably assume that the biggest opposition to the federal legalization online gambling would be getting around the opponents of online gambling instead of friction with proponents of online gambling. That assumption it appears would be inaccurate at this point.
Sen. Rod Wright has reintroduced his SB 45 legislation to legalize online poker in California. The bill would require the California Gambling Control Commission to enter into contracts with up to three hub operators with the operators being granted the authority to offer online poker to California residents under contracts that could range upwards of 20 years.
But what about Harry Reid’s bill? Well, apparently its still alive. Despite the Las Vegas Sun reporting that Reid was shutting it down, Reid has made it clear that his comments were taken out of context and that the rumors of the death of his gambling bill had been greatly exaggerated… or something to that effect.
There’s friction between the legislation that Reid is proposing and the legislation that the California Online Poker Association is seeking.This organization is led by a pair of southern California gaming tribes, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. Earlier this week, Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, introduced poker legislation on behalf of the organization, the SB 45 is a call to the California Gambling Control Commission to offer a license to offer online poker within California. The COPA is not at all on board with Harry Reid, a statement issued by Ryan Hightower, echoed those sentiments,
“COPA opposes the current lame-duck effort by Harry Reid because it hurts California…Reid’s effort rewards the Nevada gaming interests that gave him hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations during the recent election. California has a $25 billion deficit and an unemployment rate of 12 percent. Any revenues generated by Internet poker in California should stay within the state and not be shipped off to Washington, D.C., or Nevada or even offshore.”
It seems that even though Reid’s plan would have trampled key pieces of previous federal legislation relating to online gambling including The Wire Act and the UIGEA, the reaction from tribes to Reid’s bill was generally negative. Much of the negativity towards Reid’s bill stems from his close affiliations with Nevada casinos. There is a majority that perceive the bill to be fashioned in such a way to give these casino interests an advantage over the tribes in offering online poker.
As if the legalization of online gambling didn’t already have it’s own set of hurdles, now a huge wave of opposition towards Harry Reid’s legalization of online gambling is now coming from within the industry. The Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations, a 14-tribe organization that includes the biggest Southern California gaming tribes, including Morongo and the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, are currently circulating a letter opposing the bill on the grounds that it would shut the tribes out of the lucrative online gaming market.