Online Poker Regulation Supporter Leaves California Gaming Commission

Posted on September 2nd, 2015 by Alana Markoff
Richard Schuetz California online poker

Richard Schuetz is leaving the California Gambling Control Commission to take a position overseeing casinos in Bermuda. (Image: CGCC)

Online poker may still come to California sometime soon, but a recent departure from the California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) won’t make the process any easier.

Commissioner Richard Schuetz has left the CGCC in order to take a position as executive director of the Bermuda Casino Gaming Commission (BCGC), a new board that is set to oversee the coming casinos in the island territory.

The move isn’t one that will fundamentally change the nature of the debate over online poker in California, so there’s no need for supporters to panic or for opponents to celebrate.

However, Schuetz was certainly a voice in favor of the idea that California can effectively and safely provide oversight for an Internet poker marketplace in the state.

Schuetz Said California Could Control Online Poker

That was made clear in recent hearings on the issue of online poker held in California. At that panel, Schuetz said that a well-regulated market could easily keep minors from accessing such sites, saying that only “bad parenting” could be blamed for children who found a way to play on them.

The CGCC certainly has a role to play in the debate over online poker in California: after all, their opinions about the ability of the state to effectively regulate and control Internet gambling are going to carry a lot of weight with those who are undecided about the issue.

However, the commission is not really a major part of the process when it comes to passing legislation: the opinions of lawmakers and the ability to get various gaming interests on board with a single bill are much bigger issues to watch.

Still, Schuetz’s departure does take one positive voice out of the online poker conversation in the state, and also means that an experienced voice is now off the CGCC.

He has previously served on the boards of the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino and Shuffle Master, and worked as a senior executive at a variety of casinos across the United States.

Experience Made Schuetz Strong Pick for Bermuda

That combination of experience in both regulatory roles and as a casino operator made him an excellent addition to the BCGC, said chairman Alan Dunch.

“All of us at the Commission are thrilled to have Richard join us in helping to introduce casinos to Bermuda,” he said. “His exensive experience as both a casino operator and as a regulator make him ideally suited to ensure that the Bermuda casino experience operates with a high degree or integrity, and offers an additional world-class tourism amenity for Bermuda.” 

Schuetz also expressed excitement about his new assignment in the Caribbean.

“It is a true honour to be entrusted with such an important task,” Schuetz said. “I am thrilled to be able to work hand-in-hand with the people of Bermuda to usher in this new chapter of Bermuda’s tourism and economic development.”

Schuetz is the third commissioner to leave the CGCC this year, following Executive Director Tina Littleton and Chairman Richard Lopes. So far, only one of those seats has been filled.

Over the years, Schuetz has been a prolific writer about gambling issues.

Earlier this year, he wrote an op-ed for Global Gaming Business News in which he opined that daily fantasy sports sites are “operating in a space that certainly approaches the definition of being a gambling activity in many jurisdictions.”

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