Friday marked the official end for California’s online poker hopes in 2015, though it had been known for many weeks that the Golden State’s chances were essentially zero.
The 2015 California legislative session ended on Sept. 11 with no consensus being reached by tribal groups, card clubs, racetracks and outside firms looking to get in on the most lucrative online poker market in the country. Amaya Gaming Group, owner of PokerStars, has been pushing hard in 2015, even sending some of its top pros to Sacramento to advocate for regulation, but to no avail.
Tribal gaming is a $28.5 billion market in the United States, with the California region representing a whopping $7.3 billion of that figure. The tribal gaming industry has been divided on how to regulate online poker and who should be eligible for a license to offer it.
It has been estimated that the state’s online poker market could eventually be worth more than $380 million a year. Between 2009 and 2010, California players accounted for 16 percent of U.S. revenue and four percent of worldwide revenue in online poker. Still, stakeholders in California gaming believe the market could only support so many operators.
California has not been looking at legalizing other online casino games—just poker.
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