Tulchin Research recently conducted a statewide survey among likely California voters to assess public opinion toward regulating and taxing the profits of online poker, which is currently not regulated or taxed. Overall, voters are very concerned about the state budget deficit and strongly support the position held by the California Online Poker Association (COPA) in favor of regulating and taxing the profits of online poker as an avenue to help remedy the state’s fiscal woes and keep money and jobs in California.
This survey clearly indicates that the timing for approving COPA’s version of online poker is now. Voters are currently more concerned about the state budget deficit and cuts to services than they are about the state’s economy. They are looking for ways to offset the severe budget cuts to services and permitting online poker and collecting a share of revenues by ensuring the money and jobs stay in California is a way to do that. Specifically, voters strongly prefer COPA’s approach to allowing online poker in terms of only letting California-based gaming operators run poker websites and limiting it to poker only. As a result, support for regulating and taxing the profits of online poker is higher now than it has ever been in our polling over the past few years on this subject.
The key points from the survey are as follows.
- Voters strongly prefer COPA’s approach to regulating and taxing the profits of online poker. Notably:
- Nearly two-thirds of voters prefer to ONLY permit California based gaming operators that qualify for a gaming license under existing law to operate an online poker website (64 percent) as opposed to any company who wants to submit a bid (22 percent).
- A solid majority of voters prefer to ONLY allow poker (56 percent) while just a third (33 percent) are open to allowing social games like Farmville and Angry Birds.
- It is clear that the state’s troublesome fiscal situation weighs heavily on voters. The state budget deficit is the top concern among voters (21 percent) while jobs (17 percent) the economy (12 percent) and education/quality of public schools (12 percent) follow closely behind.
- Furthermore, when asked specifically about the seriousness of the state budget deficit, opinion is nearly unanimous that it is a serious problem (87 percent) with over a majority of voters who believe it is an extremely serious problem (52 percent).
- Most voters statewide (76 percent) support regulating and taxing the profits of online poker websites, including more than half (58 percent) who strongly support this issue. Permitting online poker draws broad backing across party, ethnic and regional lines as voters see this as a way to generate millions of dollars in state revenue, create jobs, help balance the budget and protect funding for essential services in the state.
- This most recent survey’s results are markedly higher than polling we conducted in the past as two-thirds of voters (66 percent) supported “regulating and taxing online poker” in our 2010 poll.
The California Online Poker Association is California’s first coalition of gaming tribes and card rooms, working together to protect California consumers, and to keep much-needed revenues and jobs in California. As California’s trusted and regulated gaming operators, COPA partners include 29 of California Indian Tribes, both gaming and non-gaming, as well as 31 card rooms that represent over 70% of the state’s poker tables.