The California Online Poker Bill was unveiled last week. The bill outlines a plan to regulate online poker in the state of California and was brought to the state’s legislature in January.”Licenses to operate intrastate Internet poker websites under this Act shall be issued only to current Gaming Establishments licensed by the State of California and California tribes with gaming compacts. “This means only licensed California brick and mortars will be able to operate online poker sites within the state (Bay101, Commerce Casino, Bicycle Club, etc..).If this bill does in fact go through, it will be interesting to see how the California brick and mortars react to working with affiliates. This could give us a better idea of how the major Vegas brick and mortars feel about working with us if mass regulation were to occur.Some people in our industry believe that Harrahs/MGM wouldn’t want to initially work with outsourced marketing programs because of the margin they would be giving up. And that instead of using affiliates, Harrahs or MGM would spend that money on mass advertising via TV, print, and other traditional forms of media.Old Navy and Nike work with affiliates! The land based casinos have little experience in marketing on the Internet and driving traffic to their product. Affiliate marketing is not a flash in the pan. Those who choose to ignore its relevance will either experience serious growing pains before accepting the need or simply be blown away by their competition. Also, as affiliates we have existing relationships with their end user. The brick and mortars would be crazy not to tap into our resources.So where does that leave industry giants like Full Tilt and Poker Stars? Will affiliates lose their players? How will California “regulate” their citizens from playing on non-sanctioned sites?I am guessing the bill will not make it through Sacramento without a few amendments (assuming it gets passed :). Maybe these amendments will answer the questions above. I will definitely be watching this story over the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see how many states start throwing this idea around. With the American economy in a recession and many states in the US severely in the red, this may be the perfect time for regulation.- Tony


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