California Tribes’ iPoker Bill Opposed by PokerStars

California Tribes' iPoker Bill Opposed by PokerStarsThe online poker bill drafted by 13 California tribes that seeks to exclude “bad actors” faces strong opposition from PokerStars and their partners.

The bill was sent earlier this week to state lawmakers by a coalition that includes influential tribes such as the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and the United Auburn Indian Community. But the [geolink href=””]Morongo Band of Mission Indians, who have partnered with PokerStars and the state’s three largest card rooms[/geolink], issued a statement against the proposal with a vow to vigorously oppose any such efforts.

The PokerStars group insists that constitutional rights set forth in both U.S. and California are being violated by the measure that would allow the tribal coalition to enjoy an unfair competitive advantage. Also cited is the fact that PokerStars is licensed and well-respected in many other jurisdictions throughout the world and has never been convicted of doing wrong.

What PokerStars did do was continue operating in the U.S. following the Bush administration’s enactment of the UIGEA in October, 2006. That has allowed the site to reach the top of the heap of the online poker industry by a wide margin over the competition.

In their statement in opposition, PokerStars, the Morongo tribe and the three card clubs believe that the state’s gaming regulators should decide the license suitability of the industry giant – not the tribal coalition. The partnership also seeks to work together with lawmakers and the state’s gaming interests to craft a final bill that will best serve the interests and needs of all Californians.

A recent online gambling hearing in California had taken on a positive tone which led many to believe that the approval of online poker legislation in the state was closer than ever before. Two bills are currently pending before the legislature that both also include bad actor language.

The supporters of those bills received the new proposal crafted by the 13-member tribal coalition just a few days ago and had yet to publicly respond. The PokerStars group wasted no time in responding, continuing with a previous promise to fight the bad actor designation that it feels is an unjust label considering the integrity and good standing that the company enjoys elsewhere.

The 2014 Cali legislative session ends in August and it appears that the calendar will turn to 2015 without [geolink href=””]regulated online poker in California[/geolink]. Due to the continued disagreements among the state’s gaming interests, Indian tribes in particular, revenue estimated to total more than $800 million within five years will fail to be captured.

Jacqueline Packett
Jacqueline Packett