Phil Hellmuth - California Online Poker will make as much as Italy

by Jeremy Olson on May 31, 2012

While federal legislation surrounding US online poker seems to be at least a year away, several individual states feel as if they’re closing in on their own operations. California is one of these states, and this is a pretty big deal considering that - if they were their own country - the Golden State would have the world’s eighth biggest economy.

Considering this fact, it’s no wonder why Phil Hellmuth is so excited about the prospect of legal online poker in Nevada. He discussed this topic by saying, “It’s going to be huge. They say California alone will generate as much (online poker) revenue as the country of Italy.” This is no small statement when you consider that Italians currently comprise 10% of the world’s online poker population.

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Putting the all-time WSOP bracelet leader’s comments aside for a moment, there’s no guarantee that Californians will be playing internet poker any time soon. That’s because there’s still a lot of red tape to clear before online poker becomes a reality - beginning with the residents themselves.

After all, a recent poll shows that only half of Californians are in support of legalized internet poker. Furthermore, Indian casino operators are doing everything they can to put a crimp in these plans since they think online poker gives major casinos an advantage.

But even with all of the roadblocks, there’s plenty of support for California online poker. The state is currently strapped with a $16 billion deficit, which could be helped by the estimated $200 million in annual tax revenue from poker. Seeing as how the state has 37.7 million residents, the $200 million could even be an underestimate.

But before we’ll know whether or not this is the case, California will have to pass some legislation first.

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