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Get ready to roll the virtual bones, California. You thought marijuana was a cash crop? Well, here comes online gambling to shake things up, and maybe even throw a ton of money at our budget problem.
The issue of online gaming is hot and heavy in Washington these days. Supporters of Internet gambling claim it could bring in as much as $42 billion across the country, so it's not surprising that State governments want in on the action, too. California among them. Simply put, politicians in favor of online gambling say it would bring both money and jobs to a state that needs a bog dose of both.
If this kind of action becomes legal, look for Silicon Valley to get a boost, too. Software companies like the Bay Area's own CyberArts are watching the politicians closely. CyberArts, based in Berkeley, makes what it calls "Foundation," literally the foundation of online gaming. More gaming, more sales for CyberArts.
Despite the obvious and oft-heard arguments against online gambling (addictive, time-wasting, gateway to the real thing), the time could be right for something like this to pass. As Lloyd Levine, a consultant for the pro-poker side admits, "it is generally easier to pass something like this in a recession." With weed all of the sudden seen as a way out of California's budget problems, why not poker, too?
Of course it's a gamble. But California has been on a losing streak, and it;s desperate to find a way to win.
How do you feel about online gambling? Tell Scott on Twitter: @scottbudman