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Morongo Indians want online poker in California

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February 1, 2010

SACRAMENTO - The Morongo Band of Mission Indians have renewed their push to legalize online poker in California.

The first signs of their efforts may manifest themselves in an upcoming committee hearing February 9th in the state Senate. The Senate Governmental Organization Committee will meet to discuss the specific issue of online poker. No bills have been introduced at this time, but there is great interest in the potential revenue for the state. Numerous speakers have been invited to the hearing, but the final list has not been announced. The two main topics will be the compatibility with tribal compacts vs. federal gaming laws and the federal Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIEGA).

It is estimated about 1.4 million Californians are currently playing poker on the internet according to a 2008 PricewaterhouseCoopers study.

Sacramento-based gaming attorney Martin Owens, said "You've got something like a billion dollars leaving the state every year that does nobody any good except the offshore operators. Internet gambling is here to stay. The only rational thing to do is organize it, license it, supervise it - and by all means, get the benefits."

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