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L.A. Times: California Should Regulate I-Poker

Newspapers Calls For 'Comprehensive Approach To Online Gaming'


California’s largest newspaper is in clear support of regulated online poker.

The daily fantasy sports industry has fallen under review by a handful of states, with California being one of the most recent to take a look at regulating DFS. Legislation on the table in the Golden State would place some oversight on those Internet games, which some say amount to gambling. DraftKings and FanDuel, the leading companies in the space, say that the games are skill. It’s an argument that is familiar to the poker community, which has seen California debate regulating the virtual card game for years. The lack of success isn’t because people still believe poker is chance-based.

An article from the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board this past weekend seems to indicate growing support for regulating “all online gaming sites.” While California is considering online poker and DFS bills, the state isn’t currently looking at the regulation of online house-banked casino games, like what happens in New Jersey and Delaware.

“The fact that fantasy sports leagues and other online games are legal in some jurisdictions means that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to stop people from playing them even where they are illegal,” The Times wrote. “The smart approach is to regulate the leagues, ideally within the context of a comprehensive approach to online gaming.”

The editorial added: “The argument for setting up a safer environment for fantasy sports games applies in spades to online poker. It’s time for the Legislature to stand up to the competing gambling interest groups and adopt safeguards that apply across the online gaming boards.”

The competing gambling interest groups are the Native American Tribes, commercial card rooms and the state’s horse racing industry, who all are interested in online poker. Steve Stallings, chairman of the influential Cali­fornia Nations Indian Gaming Association, recently told Card Player that the tribes are working to find a compromise. According to Stallings, California’s window for regulating online poker might only remain open for a couple more years.