Most Californians Support Online Gambling

Californians Support Online Gambling April 28 2014 - Most California voters would like to see the state tax and legalize Internet poker, according to a Poll released today.

Among all age groups, 53 percent of voters support the idea, the poll says, while 41 percent oppose it. Among voters under age 40, however, support grows to 73 percent.

The Legislature has been discussing proposals to make online gambling legal in California for the past two years. The bills stalled as various gambling interests fought over who would be able to profit from the endeavor.

Parties involved in the debate – owners of Indian casinos, card rooms and race tracks – are supposed to meet this fall to hash out a compromise proposal for the Legislature to consider next year. Lawmakers who support Internet gambling have said it could bring hundreds of millions to state coffers.

The potential for the state to make money by taxing Internet poker is the main reason Irene Woods of Fair Oaks said she wants California to permit Internet gambling.

"It would be another source of revenue for the state, and we're in dire financial problems," said Woods, 79, who participated in the survey. "I don't see anything immoral about gambling anyway. What's the difference if you go to Tahoe or Reno, or if you do it online?"

Poll respondent Timothy Dwyer of Stanislaus County saw it another way. He said the potential for the state to make money isn't worth the risk to players who could wind up gambling too much.

"Unfortunately I know several people that, because of compulsive uncontrollable behavior, have gone to the poorhouse because of gambling online," said Dwyer, 59, who owns a money wire transfer company.

"I think it's a very, very harmful thing. It's a trap and it takes gullible people and wipes them out."