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Legalizing Online Poker May Be Virtual Jackpot for California

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Online Poker via Shutterstock
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Senate leader Darrell Steinberg and state Senator Roderick Wright bet that their bill to legalize Internet poker will bring $200 million per year into the dilapidated state economy.

The odds of pushing through the measure may be in their favor after a dismal announcement yesterday from Governor Jerry Brown about the state's $16 million deficit. Unless voters approve a tax increase in November, schools and social services will face another round of crippling cuts.

The CA Online Poker Association, a group of 46 casino operators, is pushing for the legalization. They estimate that 2 million state residents play Internet poker, and they want in on the action, according to the Los Angeles Times. Experts estimate that U.S. residents bet at least $40 billion annually on Internet poker, but the poker sites are operated overseas, and none of the profits benefit our economy.

The Obama administration said in December that some forms of state Internet gambling are OK.