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If N.J. Allows Online Gaming, Calif. May Follow

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If Gov. Chris Christie authorizes the Intra-State Internet Gambling bill passed by both houses of the New Jersey legislature this month, New Jersey will become the first state to regulate online gambling, according to Online Casino Reports.

While New Jersey may not have Indian gaming interests to consider, the decision would likely create impetus for California, which is currently looking at similar legislation, suggested the Betting Council Trustee Review.

According to Part Time Poker, Sen. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, has proposed a bill to legalize Internet poker throughout California—a move supported by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, who began forming an alliance in 2009 with state card rooms that became the California Online Poker Association (COPA), reported Capitol Weekly.

The second bill to legalize Internet poker in California was introduced by Sen. Rod Wright, D-Los Angeles, but COPA favors Correa’s bill, which appears to support tribes, reported Capitol Weekly.

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Correa’s bill suggests that revenue from online poker would not be taxed by the state: “It is in the interest of the state and its citizens to increase sources of nontax, non-state revenue for tribal governments to enhance their ability to provide services to their communities,” the bill states. Wright’s bill avoids mention of whether tribes would be taxed or not.

Taking action against COPA, the California Tribal Business Alliance (CTBA) fired an opposition letter to Correa on Dec. 17, accusing his bill of marginalizing most tribes, reported Capitol Weekly. The alliance remains neutral on the Wright bill, though it acknowledged plans to meet with the senator soon. Chris Lindstrom, the alliance’s executive officer, stated it would oppose taxing tribal revenue from online poker, if the state decides to allow residents to place bets online.

Opponents of Internet poker note that some Indian tribes have threatened withholding tens of millions of dollars in slot-machine revenue from the state if online poker is approved, reported the Los Angeles Times. The tribes claim online gambling will deter customers from their casinos—a theory Casino City Times says has been debunked multiple times.