While the California population grew to 39.5 million in 2016, the state still won't allow any of its residents to play online poker. While it had appeared that they were on track to legalize it, there has been a recent reversal in course. That's where we'll start our recap of the poker news of the week.
California Poker Progress Halted
California has been angling to get on the online poker train, and while it looked like we were making steady progress the tide has completely turned. The bad news came via Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, who was the main proponent of the online poker bill. He has revealed that there won't be any movement on it this year at all. The California tribes can't decide on how to regulate the market and there are others that want to keep the likes of PokerStars far away from the market as it would likely take over.
It had been previously reported that PokerStars would be taking a back seat to poker lobbying in California, and it's not surprising that just days after the announcement the process has been derailed. This is a big blow for online poker as California's poker market sits at around 40 million people. That is a lot of money that the state is missing out on. There could be a change, says Steve Stallings, the chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, if PokerStars looks to back out of California, but that remains to be seen.
Spain's Poker Revenue On The Rise
Spain's revenue from online gambling concluded 2016 on the upswing as they made $125.7 million Euros in the final quarter of the year, which was up 32.6% from the fourth quarter in 2015. Online poker saw growth of 4.6% with tournament revenues going up by 16.9%, which was an encouraging sign. Cash games have not been as popular.
Sports betting led the way with 55.5% of the country's online gaming revenue, while online casinos were next at 28.6%.
Spain is also in the running to share their poker players with other countries in the European Union, such as France and Italy. The talks have already started and the countries would like to push it through as soon as possible, which could make for a very lucrative 2017.
Dzmitry Urbanovich Joins PartyPoker
We wrap up this week's news in Poland as their all-time leader in tournament winnings has joined up with PartyPoker. Dzmitry Urbanovich, who has earned over $5 million in winnings since becoming a pro in July 2013, will now be a sponsored pro.
This is good news for Poland, which has taken a bit of a hit when it comes to online poker as a lot of operators have left the country thanks to new tax rates that have priced them out. However, Urbanovich is obviously a well-known name in the Polish world of poker and he joins a few other pros, such as Mike Sexton of the United States and Jan-Peter Jachtmann of Germany, in being sponsored by PartyPoker.
Urabanovich's biggest win came in April 2015 when he took home over $1.5 million for finishing second at the EPT Super High Roller Grand Final event in Monte Carlo.