SACRAMENTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With California facing a $26 billion budget deficit and a 12 percent unemployment rate, the California Online Poker Association (COPA) today released an economic impact study concluding that the authorization of an online poker system will generate $1 billion in state revenues in the next decade and create 1,100 new jobs.
To help balance the state’s budget without new taxes, State Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), authored Senate Bill 40, California First: The State Funding, Job Creation and Online Gaming Accountability Act.
The economic impact study, authored by former California Finance Director Timothy L. Gage, concluded that an online poker system such as that outlined in SB 40 would deliver an average of $100 million annually to the State General Fund during the first decade of operation.
“Governor Jerry Brown is rightly looking to not only cut costs, but to also identify new sources of long-term revenue to help balance the state budget and to continue funding important public services including education, public safety and healthcare,” Senator Correa said. “There are no silver bullets but Senate Bill 40 is a great opportunity to immediately generate more revenue and put Californians back to work. More importantly, it keeps California revenue and jobs here instead of going out-of-state or offshore.”
Today, nearly two million Californians play unregulated online poker, wagering an estimated $13 billion. None of this money stays in California, going instead to illegal, offshore interests. Nothing stops these illegal operators from targeting children, or requires them to protect players from fraud and identity theft.
SB 40 authorizes the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Gambling Control to regulate and monitor the operation of online poker. Operators would be required to pay a license fee, player winnings would be reported as income and all bank accounts, servers and operating personnel must be located in California. SB 40 enacts strong consumer protections, prevents underage gaming and establishes strict regulatory controls.
Under SB 40, all federally recognized California tribal governments and card room clubs would be eligible to apply for a license to operate online poker. Together, they currently provide 64,000 jobs for Californians and have generated billions in revenue for the State.
COPA also announced today that a statewide survey conducted by Tulchin Research revealed that nearly two thirds (66 percent) of Californians support the establishment of online poker to help balance the budget. Moreover, 84 percent prefer a state-regulated online poker system that keeps jobs and revenue in California over a program run by the federal government where revenues go to Washington D.C., other states or offshore.
COPA is forming a coalition for the passage of SB 40 to keep California jobs and revenue here. Anyone impacted by the state budget crisis is invited to join. For information, please visit www.AllinforCalifornia.org.