Published

Indian tribes willing to talk about allowing online poker in California

The

California
Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians coalition has softened its stance against the potential passing of a bill to legalise online poker in California.

Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer submitted AB 167 in January, seeking to legalise online poker in the state.

The coalition, made up of seven tribes, wrote to Jones-Sawyer last month, detailing its opposition to what it called a “fatally flawed” bill.

The bill differs from fellow Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s AB 9 online poker bill, submitted in December, in that it does not contain a “bad actor” clause.

A bad actor clause would prohibit any company that accepted state wagers after the implementation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act on 31 December 2006 from operating in the state, which includes PokerStars.

But according to Online Poker Report, a different stance was taken at a meeting in San Diego last week at a National Indian Gaming Association tradeshow and convention, which was called by Cody Martinez, chairman of the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, and was attended by representatives from nine tribes.

A tribal official, who requested anonymity, said: “If all the tribes got together with PokerStars … I’d like to see any legislator try to get in front of that train.”

Robert Martin, chairman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, a partner of PokerStars, said: “That’s the idea Sycuan and Pechanga are floating … for the tribes to get together with PokerStars and overcome opposition from the tracks.

“I don’t know. If we were all united, I could perhaps see where it would work.”

AB 167 would also allow state racetracks to join Indian tribes and offer online poker services in the state, and members of the coalition disagreed over whether the racing industry should be provided with a subsidy from online poker revenues.

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