Don't Be Silly: Expect the Best

21 May 2009
California is broke, and the prospects for online poker -- or most any revenue-generative legislative proposal -- are growing by the minute.

This week, California voters shot down five of six ballot measures intended to balance the state's glaring $21.3 billion budget deficit.

The New York Times called the only successful ballot measure "a chin-out electoral scowl by voters." (An especially apt description given the measure prevents lawmakers and constitutional officers from receiving raises in times of fiscal distress. Sound familiar?)

All editorial flourish aside, though, the crisis there is nothing short of savage and will likely see thousands of state employees cut and billions in funding slashed.

As the Golden State teeters on the brink of insolvency, it's safe to assume that that the usual moral-political rhetoric condemning online gambling will not carry much weight, if any.

That a Californian may consider gambling despicable is worth something, of course . . . but given the state's dire financial need, is worth more if accompanied by an equally attractive revenue-generative alternative.

Not that social conservatism would win the day, anyway, people. Don't forget, we're talking about a state whose governor, a Republican, is supporting a large-scale study to assess the benefits of legalizing and taxing marijuana.

So don't be surprised if this thing passes -- in fact, expect to see more Internet gambling proposals in populous states.

With a Florida online poker study bill inches away from enactment, and the Illinois Senate today saying Yes to Internet lottery sales, milk whatever glass-half-full forward-looking cliche your little heart desires.

But as our man Barack so nauseatingly exploited (and so too will I), "Change is coming."

Chris Krafcik is the editor of IGamingNews. He lives in St. Louis, Mo.