CALIFORNIA CITY – thirteen of California’s native Indian tribes recently announced their support for the state’s online poker bill to establish a legal framework for online poker in the state of California.
In a letter addressed to Democrats Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer of San Bernardino and Senator Lou Correa of Santa Ana, the tribes’ representatives stated that they had come to an agreement regarding the Internet Poker Consumer Protection Act of 2014.
“We are honored to inform you and your colleagues that for the first time in five years, the undersigned tribal governments are united in support of the language that would authorize intrastate Internet poker in the State of California,” the letter said.
In addition, the letter stated “this journey has been long and difficult, but the challenges posed by the Internet demand that we harness rather than cede the technology of the future for California and for our tribal communities.”
The letter sent on Monday was signed by Jeff Grubbe, chairman of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians; Mark Macarro, chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians; and Lynn Valbuena, chairwoman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.
Under the bill authored by Correa and Jones-Sawyer, online poker licenses would only be given to businesses currently operating gaming facilities and card rooms which made the native Indian tribes eligible for online poker.
Furthermore, the bill required all players to pay income tax from winnings and show a state license to prove that they are citizens of California.
On the other hand, the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, a Native Indian tribe from Riverside, was notably absent from the joint letter. Instead, the Morongo tribe, along with PokerStars, Bicycle Casino, Commerce Casino and Hawaiian Gardens Casino, issued a joint response opposing the bad actor clause of the proposed bill.
The bad actor clause stated that a license will not be granted to online poker sites which accepted US players after the passage of the UIGEA in 2006.
Since Morongo, strike a deal with PokerStars lately, both Morongo and PokerStars argued that the tribal coalition violated California and U.S. constitutions with its anti-competitive stance which aims to ban companies that have never admitted or been convicted of wrongdoing, are duly licensed in jurisdictions around the world, and have set the gold standard in the online poker industry for game and financial integrity and player satisfaction.
“Efforts by a select few interests to rewrite longstanding and effective policy in order to gain a competitive market advantage or to lock out specific companies is not in the best interests of consumers or the state and will be vigorously opposed by our coalition, online poker players and many others,” the Morongo coalition told.
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