The state of California is one that comes up often when the national media does a story on Internet poker. The online gambling issue has become one that is being fought the hardest at the state level, and California lawmakers have been among the most aggressive in trying to regulate the industry.
This week, poll results show that the California lawmakers have a grasp on the pulse of their constituents. Fifty-three percent of registered voters are in favor of online poker regulations in California, according to a Field Poll. That puts the state in line with the national perception of the issue.
The most telling sign of the poll, which showed forty-three percent of voters against online poker regulations, was the disparity within the issue with young voters. Seventy-three percent of voters under the age of forty believe they should be permitted to legally gamble at an online poker site. Internet poker is largely a product of the younger generation, having gained popularity over the past decade.
The reaction to the poll was varied around the state. There are those who believe that it is inevitable that online poker become regulated in the US, specifically in their home state, while others hold to the notion that online poker would be an avenue for an increase in problem gambling.
“I have talked to a lot of my friends about this issue, and it would make sense that the majority of California voters would approve of online poker,” said Barry Nelbert, a resident of Southern California. “My friends definitely want the right to play poker online. It makes sense no matter how you look at it.”
MaryAnn Lebrois was no so convinced. Lebrois likes to go to the local California casinos, but feels that gambling addiction is already a problem in the state.
“I go to the casino maybe once or twice a week,” said Lebrois. “I only go with one hundred dollars per session, but I see some other people there every time I go, and they are spending thousands of dollars at a time. If they do change the online gambling laws, they better be sure to have safeguards in place against addiction.”
As is the case on a federal level, it is the Conservatives in California that are most against online poker. The Field Poll indicated that forty-nine percent of Republicans oppose online poker, while only forty-three approve. On the Democrat side, fifty-six percent want online gambling regulated, with only thirty-eight percent opposed.