The sun could be setting for 2015 online poker legalization in the Golden State. News out of the California Assembly on Thursday could spell the death knell not just for one of California’s online poker bills but possibly for the issue in general until 2016. According to KCRA Sacramento, Assemblyman Mike Gatto‘s bill will not be heard as part of Governmental Organization hearing next week. He states that he is shelving AB 9 due to a lack of consensus on internet poker. The upcoming hearing is the last hearing on online poker and Gatto’s cancellation effectively closes the door on the bill in 2015. Gatto Claims Shelving Bill is Right Thing to Do Gatto issued a statement about his decision to shelve the bill on Thursday. Here is the statement in its entirety: “I am canceling next week’s hearing of my Assembly Bill 9. I believe this is the right thing to do at this point because there is no consensus on the issue yet. My bill has an “urgency” clause, and thus it can be resuscitated at any time. Over the past three years, I have met with representatives from nearly every software provider, card room, gaming tribe, racetrack, and internet-poker operator who has an opinion on the subject. I gave my word to both supporters and opponents of AB 9 that my goal was consensus, and that I would not move forward with anything that achieved less than that. I will continue working to craft legislation on which the interested parties can agree, and which is good for the people and treasury of the state of California.” Gatto’s decision to shelve the bill does not come as a surprise considering his overall pessimism on the bill’s passage. Despite being a supporter of the measure, he went from being cautiously optimistic of AB 9’s passage in 2015 to claiming that the measure had a 40% chance to pass in the next two years. Will Other Lawmakers Follow Suit? The question now remains whether other lawmakers will continue to pursue online poker this year or roll their bills over to 2016. Reggie Jones-Sawyer‘s AB 167 and Adam Gray‘s AB 431 are still active but the only one with any type of momentum is AB 431. We use the term momentum lightly because AB 431 is still a shell bill with few details. The bill is currently in a holding pattern awaiting the conclusion of hearings, but it still needs to address both race tracks and bad actors and time is running out. At this point, don’t be surprise if the sponsors of other bills slow start moving towards rolling their bills over to 2016 in order to work out issues with the race tracks and the Pechanga coalition. Even PokerStars looks to have taken a long-term approach to the problem and is focusing on their propaganda tour to “spread the word” about legalization. Gatto’s withdrawal is likely the beginning of the end for online poker in 2015 with everything starting over again come late December or early January. Previous Post Next Post online poker legalization About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

The battle lines between the Pechanga Coalition and both PokerStars and the horse racing industry have been clearly defined for years and there appeared little hope for a compromise between parties. That was until the informational hearing on Wednesday in the California Assembly GO Committee. For the first time since online poker has become a topic of discussion in California, a reasonable compromise was offered to help resolve issues surrounding horse race track participation. More surprising was the author of this compromise; the Pechanga. Pechanga Chairman Offers Two Options for Race Track Participation During Wednesday’s hearing, Pechanga chairman Mark Macarro offered a pair of potential solutions for including the horse racing industry in California iPoker. According to Macarro, “We are realistic about the politics of this issue. That is why Pechanga is prepared to support other opportunities for the racing industry to participate and benefit from online poker. We respect the sport of horse racing and recognize the importance of the jobs that rely on the industry. That’s why Pechanga can support legislation that specifically shares revenue derived from online poker for the benefit of the racing industry.” For those unfamiliar with revenue sharing, look at the model in play with Major League Baseball. In their revenue sharing deal, the top teams in baseball share revenue with the other clubs, leveling the playing field to a degree. While revenue sharing will never make the Marlins into the Yankees, sometimes it is enough to help a smaller team to compete. Revenue sharing was not the only option offered during the hearing. Macarro also offered an affiliate based system. He stated that, “the racing industry also has the means to enter into private partnerships with licensed operators to participate as affiliates. Racetracks can enter into arrangements whereby they refer their web visitors and players to poker websites for a fee.” The affiliate system is what is already used around the globe by most sites. On the surface, it would seem that the horse racing industry would only get a “finder’s fee” for new players but don’t rule out the possibility of this being expanded into a rake sharing deal where race tracks get part of the profits generated from their signups. Racing Industry Doesn’t Appear Interested but Maybe They Should Be Keith Brackpool, west coat chairman for the Stronach Group, was the horse racing industry rep at the hearing on Wednesday and was quick to dismiss the proposal by the Pechanga. Brackpool stated, “I appreciate the offer made by chairman Macarro, but we don’t believe at this stage that a level playing field would be the other part of the gaming community having a license and determining what morsel of that we would receive. We want a level playing field where we have the right to apply and receive a license on the same basis.” While his position sounds valid on the surface, if one looks at how the industry has progressed in other states, the horse racing industry may want to reconsider. First, consider the fact that despite their increase population, only a handful of online poker sites will be truly viable in the state. Race tracks will have a hard time competing against established brands and could put up substantial funding towards profits they may never achieve. Serving as an affiliate would be among the most cost effective solutions that they could employ as they could choose which online partner they want to support and then focus their marketing towards that avenue. They can also work with their partners to maximize promotions and maybe even draw business towards the tracks. PokerStars would certainly figure out a way to incorporate horse racing into their poker games and could be a match made in heaven. The most encouraging news about this offered compromise is that it happened. It is the first time that the Pechanga have tried to move forward in any meaningful way towards a resolution of issues. Granted, there is still a long way to go towards getting a bill passed but this is actually a step forward, even if it is a baby step. Previous Post Next Post pechanga|pokerstars About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

Earlier this month, the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians started a statewide smear campaign against PokerStars and bad actors, calling them scam artists among other things. PokerStars and their coalition have decided to fight back and have launched a new site to try to help push iPoker legislation forward in the Golden State. The new site title Californians for Responsible iPoker has officially launched and is a joint venture between PokerStars, the Morongo and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Commerce Casino, the Bicycle Casino and Hawaiian Gardens Casino. Site Stresses Consumer Protection and Regulatory Oversight Under the section entitled “What We Stand For,” the coalition outlines their Principles for Establishing Online Poker in California. Those principles include the following: • Making the marketplace inclusive
• Extending California strict consumer protection to online poker
• Ensuring that the state and citizens benefit from online poker
• Using the same process to determine suitability for online poker providers as has been used for B&M casinos
• Regulators should be the ones determining suitability “10 Reasons We Want iPoker in California.” This list is being presented as a positive spin on online poker, making PokerStars and similar providers look like champions for jobs and safe gaming. Among the ten reasons, the ones that will likely garner the most attention are: • Wanting to keep children safe – they point to protocols used in legalized markets to prevent underage gambling
• Hundreds of millions of dollars for the state – while estimates vary, California is projected to make in the $400 million range in a mature market.
• Job creation – online poker can create jobs in a variety of areas and that’s not considering ancillary jobs created after the fact
• Good for state card rooms and casinos – online poker in regulated markets leads to greater awareness of the products and more patrons in B&M establishments. Website Announces PokerStars Pro Tour The website also announced the “PokerStars Pro Tour” that promises to bring members of Team PokerStars to card rooms throughout California. Some of the names listed on the site include Vanessa Selbst, Jason Mercier, Chris Moneymaker and Daniel Negreanu. You may remember that Daniel Negreanu and Jason Somerville were part of the technology demonstration held on May 21 in Sacramento. In addition to discussing online poker, the pair also played in free money games to demonstrate the PokerStars client. No upcoming events are listed but card rooms can contact the coalition to bring PokerStars to their area. Likely Too Late to Make a Difference in 2015 – But Could Influence 2016 Recent reports point to online poker legislation possibly being shelved in 2015. Even if it AB 431 isn’t shelved, the divide between stakeholders appears too wide to breach in 2015. As such, this new initiative by the PokerStars Coalition will likely have little impact on the chances of passing a bill this year. However, this is a smart long-term move for the company as it begins a positive propaganda tour for the company. It is likely that some card rooms will take advantage of having PokerStars come to their casino and this will lead to greater dialogue. While the launching of this site doesn’t make online poker passage a sure thing in 2016, it improves the chances by double digits or more. The next few months will be interesting as the propaganda blitz from both sides continues. Previous Post Next Post pokerstars About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

Remember last month when Senator Isadore Hall failed to attend the Joint Informational hearing by the Assembly and Senate GO committees? Well now, we may know why, and it is not what Californians want to hear. Capitol Weekly released an article earlier this month claiming that internet poker has been stalled in California. The reason being that Hall apparently plans to shelve online poker legislation in 2015, a move that isn’t surprising due to the lack of true movement on either side. Internet Poker is Dead Says Tribal Lobbyist The report was written based on claims made by California Tribal Business Alliance attorney David Quintana. Quintana and several other interested parties met with Hall earlier this month and Quintana has taken assurances back to several tribes that online poker isn’t happening this year. According to Quintana, Hall “will not be setting or hearing any internet poker bills this year.” He went on to say, “Online poker is dead. There was no momentum. He’s not going to hear the bills.” This revelation comes less than three weeks after AB 431 emerged from the Assembly Appropriations Committee and moved to the Assembly floor for a vote. A vote is currently being delayed until hearings on iPoker conclude this summer. Should Hall confirm these reports, it would virtually guarantee that the bill wouldn’t be move past the Assembly or would at best fail in the Senate. Hall failed to attend last month’s hearing on the bill and it is unlikely that he will attend the hearing scheduled for later this month. Gray Tries Keep Hope Alive for Bill AB 431 sponsor Adam Gray is remaining optimistic for the bill’s chances. According to Gray, “This issue is alive – very much so. We’re in the process of holding stakeholder meetings. Do we want to establish a framework for internet poker or do we want to do nothing? Those are the only two choices.” AB 9 sponsor Assemblyman Mike Gatto appears a bit more reserved on the chances for an online poker bill. He stated that, “Now, perhaps it seems a little idealistic. Online poker has proven difficult.” Two hearings remain for online poker, meaning further discussion regarding AB 431, AB 9 and even AB 167. However, it seems less and less likely that any real movement will happen and this will pick up once again starting in early 2016. Are We Really Surprised Based on Recent Events? Recent events have been pointing to an eventual shelving of online poker in the state despite movement of AB 437 to the Assembly floor. The Pechanga coalition has changed their stance from neutral to opposed regarding the bill due to a lack of details. Next, the Viejas tribe has started taking out print and radio ads blasting PokerStars and bad actors in general. This move was seen as tribes digging in their heels regarding bad actors. Furthermore, race tracks seem to only want full participation in iPoker while tribes prefer zero participation. As long as these issues remain unresolved, there’s zero chance that a bill will pass in California be it in 2015 or 2020. Less time should be spent pushing through shell bills and more on coming to a compromise that would allow a bill to pass into law. Previous Post Next Post online poker legalization About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

If there was any doubt regarding the stance of certain tribes regarding bad actors in California, a recent radio ad has erased all of it. As first reported on Online Poker Report, an ad recently released by the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians throws down the virtual gauntlet at iPoker supporters in the state. The ad is an outright attack against PokerStars and its parent company Amaya and has clearly been released as a way to try to sway public opinion against the world’s largest poker site. Viejas Pulled No Punches in Ad Taking a page out of the Sheldon Adelson playbook, the Viejas have taken facts and spun them in a way to make them fit their view of PokerStars and their parent company Amaya. The ad starts out by blatantly calling the company an internet scam artist and immediately transitions into the Black Friday charges against PokerStars. They next point out that they paid “$731 million to avoid criminal conviction.” Next, they attack Amaya, Inc for the recent raid of the company stemming from the AMF investigation of the company’s purchase of PokerStars last year. Finally, they use a fear tactic that PokerStars can gain access to “every computer, tablet and smartphone in the state” if they are allowed to offer online poker. Clever Tactics that Could Sway Voters The bad part about this ad is that it is worded in such a way that it will likely influence voters. If one were to do a minimal amount of research on PokerStars, they would discover that technically everything stated in the ad was true regarding the charges levied and the money paid to the DOJ. For those pointing out that PokerStars didn’t admit to any wrongdoing, the average listener will be of the opinion of “where there’s smoke, there’s fire. The Amaya raid is also technically true despite the fact that it has yet to produce formal charges and the investigation itself is somewhat common after certain acquisitions. The part that is less likely to be investigated and will probably be assumed true is the claim that PokerStars will gain access to every computerized device in the state. Those unfamiliar with the technology or technologically challenged will assume that the matter will be true and fear will take over their better judgment. We’re not saying that we agree with what the ad states, but rather that the Viejas took about the best approach they could to sway voters to their side. The text of the radio spot is below: The California Legislature should be trying to stop internet scam artists and con men. We deserve to be protected from corrupt companies like PokerStars, which was indicted by the U.S. Government for illegal gambling, bank fraud and money laundering. And paid $731 million to avoid criminal conviction. PokerStars parent company recently had its headquarters raided as part of an investigation into violations of securities laws, but this hasn’t stopped PokerStars from lobbying out state legislature to allow them to participate in online poker here in California, gaining access to every computer, tablet and smartphone in the state. This is not right, and we deserve better. Please go to to contact your state legislator and tell them to keep bad actors like PokerStars out of AB431 and out of California. Paid for by the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians Previous Post Next Post amaya|pokerstars About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee has officially released AB 431 to move forward in the legislative process. This is a historic moment in the history of online poker legislation in California, as the bill will have a legitimate shot of coming to a vote on the Assembly floor sometime this year. Of course, this is assuming that lawmakers can come to an agreement on the language in the bill and whether other interested stakeholders will cooperate in the process. If recent news is indicative of things to come, the bill may have taken one-step forward only to take two steps back in the near future. AB 431 Moves out of Appropriations and Into Holding Pattern On Thursday, Chris Krafcik of GamblingCompliance announced on Twitter that AB 431 would leave the Assembly Appropriations committee and head to the Assembly floor. However, the bill will remain in a virtual holding pattern for the next couple of months as hearings on California iPoker continue. According to Krafcik, the vote was not a unanimous one as only the committee Democrats voted on the bill. Those that voted all approved the bill to move forward. The bill still remains a single page “shell bill” lacking any real substance and as such has forced some parties to reverse their position of neutrality on the bill. Pechanga Coalition Reverses Position on AB 431 Prior to the Appropriations Committee vote on Thursday, the coalition led by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians sent a letter to the committee changing their position from neutral to opposed. In the letter, the coalition stated that they took a neutral position out of respect for Assembly Chairman Adam Gray’s leadership and “prior assurance that consensus would be sought before moving forward.” The tribe continued, stating, “Continuing to pass this measure as a spot bill does not advance a state regulatory structure for iPoker. The issues that divide stakeholders remain unresolved. Moving the bill at this time would be directly counterproductive to any internet poker effort, which we know is not the goal of the author, who has told us he desires to be the neutral party bringing stakeholders together on this issue, if indeed that is possible.” The coalition urged that the bill not move out of committee but rather be held until a consensus could be reached. Hearings Next – But Will Any Real Progress Occur? There are two hearings yet to be conducted on California iGaming and AB 431 will remain in a holding pattern until they are concluded. The first is on June 24 and is a Joint GO informational hearing. It is unknown what tone it will take, but hopefully it will be more productive than the hearing held earlier this month, one that was skipped by the Senate’s GO Chair Isadore Hall and abandoned half way through by over half of the committee. The final hearing is on July 8th by the Assembly GO committee and is supposed to discuss AB 9 and AB 167. With all the focus on AB 431, there is a chance this could change dramatically. In the meantime, lawmakers still need to focus on completing the language in AB 431 and deciding whether certain matters will be address. More specifically, will race tracks be included in the bill and will it contain a bad actor clause. Finally, there seems to be little interest by the Pechanga on compromise concerning either race tracks or bad actors. In addition, lawmakers seem reluctant to act without a tribal consensus regarding iPoker. Unless things change dramatically between now and July, what will likely result is progress “on paper” but no real results. There’s no reason to believe the Assembly will vote without a consensus and one doesn’t appear on the horizon. However, there’s still time to negotiate and parties will likely try and negotiate until it becomes clear that this will need to roll over into 2016. Previous Post Next Post California|online poker legalization|pechanga About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

There was good news and bad news regarding iGaming legislation in California on Wednesday. The good news is that there was a Joint Informational hearing by the Assembly and Senate Governmental Organization (GO) committees. The bad news is that the hearing was disappointing and did nothing to forward the legalization effort. In fact, one of the key players in the legislative drama chose not to show up on Wednesday. Race Tracks Want to Offer Online Poker – Not Receive Subsidies The only testimony of major significance during this hearing came from Rick Baedeker, executive director of the California Horse Racing Board. He spoke at length and argues that race tracks should be included in any iPoker legislation in the state. Baedeker testified that horse racing wagering has declined by 45% thanks to the popularity of other forms of gambling in California. The industry held a monopoly on the gambling industry in the state for 40 years. He also testified that over 26% of horse racing’s revenue is through internet gambling. Where some have suggested that the horse racing industry receive a subsidy over being allowed to participate in iGaming, Baedeker believes that horse racing should get more respect. According to Baedeker, “Given its long history in the state, deep routes in the California greenbelt, and 13 years of legal online wagering, racing should receive every consideration to participate in Internet poker if it becomes a reality here in California.” The horse racing industry provides over $2.5 billion to California economy annually and provides over 50,000 jobs to residents. Hall Was Apathetic and So Seemed The Committee One notable absence from the hearing was Senate GO Chairman Isadore Hall, III. Chris Grove of Online Poker Report mentioned via Twitter that Hall was not in attendance and that SB278 was dead, sparking an interesting replay by Hall: Hall’s lack of interest in the hearing seemed to spread to the rest of the committee as later reported by Grove via Twitter: One has to wonder whether the apathy of Hall and the other committee members was because they were “up to speed” on the issues or maybe they are resigned to the bill not passing this year. It would seem that lawmakers would have at least faked interest considering the fact that time is beginning to run out on passing a bill this year. Is More of the Same to Be Expected in Future Hearings? Two hearings remain this summer for iGaming. The first is another “Informational Hearing” by the Joint Go Committees. One has to wonder whether this will be another dud of a hearing or if some serious matters are discussed during this hearing. The last hearing is on July 8 by the Assembly GO Committee. It will discuss AB 9 and AB 167. Some believe this could be the most important hearing this summer and could determine whether or not a bill will be voted upon in 2015. Of course, there’s still a lot that can happen between now and July. AB 431 still needs to be filled out and there’s still the outside chance that issues could be negotiated to a successful conclusion by both the horse racing industry and the Pechanga. However, if today’s hearing is a sign of what’s to come, this may be an issue we are discussing in June – of 2016. Previous Post Next Post About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

While there has been little progress in the last week in California, there has been some major news from New York and New Jersey. PokerStars is still on pace to launch in the Fall of this year according to Amaya, Inc CEO David Baazov. Meanwhile, New York has submitted their latest attempt to legalize online poker. The new bill is similar to last year’s bill but lacking the dreaded “bad actor” clause. Finally, a group of NY State Senators are urging New York congressional officials to block RAWA. PokerStars Still on Pace for Q3 Approval PokerStars is still on pace to launch in New Jersey sometime this fall, at least that’s what Amaya CEO David Baazov recently told investors. On Thursday, Amaya, Inc. held their Q1 2015 earnings call and one of the topics of discussion was PokerStars’ pending acceptance and launch in New Jersey. Baazov reiterated during the call that the company was still anticipating a Q3 launch of PokerStars in New Jersey later this year. This is in line with what the company revealed at the end of March during their Q4 2014 earnings call. Later in the call, Baazov offered commentary regarding the company’s chances in California. Unlike New Jersey, they are taking a more cautious view regarding California. While he said that the company was pleased with the efforts underway and “excited about the momentum we see,” he failed to give any estimates on whether online poker would be legalized anytime soon. New York Finally Files Online Poker Bill Back in January, a new online poker bill was promised in the Empire State but zero progress has been reported since. That changed on Friday when it was revealed that State Senator John Bonacic submitted S 5302 in the New York Senate. This is the state’s second attempt to legalize online poker. The new bill is almost identical to last year’s bill with one massive exception. This time around, the bill lacks a bad actor clause. With the changing landscape of the iGaming industry, the dropping of the clause seems appropriate and likely necessary should New York ever have any chance of passing a bill. Other key items on the bill remain the same. There will only be 10 licenses up for grabs with each licensee having to pay $10 million each for a 10-year license. Afterwards, providers will be taxed 15% of GGR. It is unlikely that we will see any significant movement on this bill because the end of the legislative session is just a month away. Assemblyman Gary Pretlow claimed back in January that hearings were possible on a new bill, but it is hard to see that even happening with so little time remaining in the session. New York Senators Urge Congress to Block RAWA According to the NY Daily News, a group of NY State Senators are urging congressional officials to block RAWA. The New York state Senate Independent Democratic Conference recently sent a letter to the New York congressional delegation asking them to block the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. The five Senators attached to the bill are Tony Avella (D-Queens), Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), David Carlucci (D-Rockand County), Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) and David Valesky (D-Syracuse). According to the letter, the Senators believe that the legislation would trample on state rights and prohibit the state from offering online lottery games. The state currently offers online Lotto, Mega Millions and Cash for Life. Horse-racing fans can also wager online. The Senators further argued that RAWA would prevent the Empire State from joining other states in spreading online poker, a move that could cost the state new jobs and tax revenue. They believe that RAWA, “usurps New York’s ability to determine for itself what forms of gambling are authorized within the state, a right which New York and every other state has historically exercised.” Ultimately, the group doesn’t specifically outline a position for or against online gambling but rather that they believe that the choice should be left to states and not the federal government. Previous Post Next Post new jersey|online poker legalization|pokerstars About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

A federal appeals court has reversed a lower court decision that banned electronic poker tables at Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison. The state had contended that electronic poker was Class III gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 (IGRA) but Ho-Chunk contended it was Class II Gaming. The state successfully shut down Ho-Chunk’s e-Poker room in 2014 when U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb sided with the state and forced the poker room shutdown. The tribe fought the decision and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit based in Chicago recently overturned that ruling. E-Poker is Not Illegal So Tribe Must Be Permitted to Offer Ultimately, the case came down to whether E-Poker was a non-banked card game or a house banked card game. A non-banked game would classify as Class II gambling under IGRA and would be permitted at Ho-Chunk Madison. The facility is considered a bingo hall and can only offer bingo style games or non-banked card games such as poker. Chief Judge Diane Wood determined that E-Poker was a non-banked card game and that the state could block Ho-Chunk from offering the game because they do not currently criminalize E-Poker. Wood wrote in her decision that, “IGRA creates a regulatory scheme that respects tribal sovereignty while carving out a regulatory role for the states on only the most lucrative forms of casino gambling and hence the forms of gambling most susceptible to organized crime. States may choose to bypass this regulatory scheme if they are willing to ban gaming across the board. But the states lack statutory authority to deny an Indian tribe the ability to offer gaming that is roughly equivalent to what the state allows for its residents.” It is unknown at this time whether Ho-Chunk will reopen their room, but at least they have the right to do so. Will This Have Implications for California Tribes This ruling could prove beneficial for certain California tribes looking to hose online poker, specifically the Santa Ysabel. They are currently in a battle with California over whether online bingo is permitted under IGRA. The state has forced the tribe to shutdown their online bingo operations due to the games falling under Class III gambling. While that battle is ongoing, the Santa Ysabel has expressed an interest in operating online poker in the state. They contend like that Ho-Chunk that online poker is Class II gambling under IGRA instead of Class III. The ruling by the appellate court could open the door for a similar ruling in California. Should online poker be declared Class II gambling in California, then the state would be unable to prevent them from offering dewapoker. Other tribes could follow suit and offer online poker without a bill being passed in the state legislature. The Ho-Chunk ruling could prove to be a major development for tribal online poker in California. Now we have to wait and see how the Santa Ysabel decides to proceed. Previous Post Next Post santa ysabel About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.

Online poker regulation took a major step forward on Monday after the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee unanimously passed AB 431, allowing the bill to move forward in the legislative process. The vote came after of a joint hearing of the GO Committee on Monday to discuss the measure. Surprisingly, the bill received very little opposition in its current form and was able to pass. Had the committee failed to move on the bill by Friday, it would have died. Passage Does Not Mean it Will Reach a Vote While this was indeed a historic moment in California regulation history, it is actually a small victory due to the nature of the current bill. AB 431 is currently no more than a placeholder bill and lacks details on regulation. At present, the bill lacks a stance on bad actor, fails to address the horse racing industry and has no real meat in terms of regulation. The only thing that this vote accomplished was that it gave time to interested stakeholders to hammer out the language of the bill. Surprisingly, major stakeholders let the bill move forward without a single objection. The Pechanga decided to change their stance on the bill to one of neutrality and both the Barona and Agua Caliente Indians followed suit. Pechanga has made it clear that they will not support any bill that allows the horse racing industry to participate or allows bad actors to acquire a license. Furthermore, Governor Jerry Brown has promised to veto any bill that doesn’t include the horse racing industry. As such, it will be interesting to see if parties can move past the impasse and get this bill to a vote. Parties Appear Optimistic Following Committee Vote The major stakeholders in the state all issued statements following the GO Committee vote on Monday. The Amaya Coalition recognized the milestone that this vote represented but also cautioned that there’s a lot of work ahead. As stated in their statement, “Finalizing the details of the legislation that will regulate California’s online poker marketplace still need to be worked out. But so far, 2015 is different. Hard lines and tough talk have morphed into open minds and dialogue. The vote today underscores the momentum building to help ensure that California finally passes iPoker legislation.” The Rincon Bank of Luiseño Indians also praised the vote and echoed the sentiments of the Amaya Coalition, stating, “There’s still plenty of work to be done and issues to be resolved. However, the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians is optimistic that this is the year for Internet poker in California. After five years of debates, some of the heavy lifting of crafting legislation has been done. Now, it is time for the stakeholders to come together, end the politics and solve the final issues.
“We look forward to the informational hearings and discussing the issues in greater detail. More importantly, we look forward to finding solutions to the sticking points and common ground through compromise.” Then there’s the Pechanga. Chairman Mark Macarro issued a statement that reinforced the tribe’s position but does hint at a spirit of openness heading into the summer months. Macarro stated, “We look forward to a meaningful process and arriving at comprehensive legislation that respects California’s longstanding public policy of limited gaming, protects children and the vulnerable, creates jobs, provides additional revenues for the State, and protects consumers and the integrity of the gaming industry from organizations that do not and have not respected U.S. law.” Three hearings remain on the GO Committee’s agenda and details for AB 431 still need to be defined. The next couple of months will prove vital to whether the state pulls out a last second miracle or if they have to wait until next year to finally legalize iPoker in the state. Previous Post Next Post agua caliente|amaya|California|online poker regulation|pechanga About James Guill Originally a semi-professional player, James transitioned to the media side in 2008. Since then he has made a name for himself reporting for some of the top names in the industry. When not covering the poker world, James travels around central Virginia hunting for antique treasure.