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Internet poker regulation in California remains stalled by seven powerful Indian tribes who make up three separate factions.

The issues being debated are more than familiar to those who have been keeping abreast of the lack of ipoker legislative progress in the Golden State – the inclusion or exclusion of racetracks and bad actors. It appears that some sort of compromise must be reached in order for California to join the regulated online poker party, but just which groups or tribes will do the bending remains to be seen.

Group no. 1

The Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, Pala Band of Luiseño Mission Indians and United Auburn Indian Community make up one group. The latter two tribes have partned with Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, while Rincon has made a friend in Caesars Entertainment.

Pala, many will recall, launched online gambling in New Jersey three months ago in conjunction with the Borgata Casino. Online poker is not yet among the offerings available to New Jersey players, but is expected soon.

Group no. 2

The Morongo and San Manuel Bands of Mission Indians head the next group. Also part of the partnership are the three largest cardrooms in the state – Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Commerce Club, Bicycle Casino – and the world’s largest poker site, PokerStars.

This group is pleased with the latest ipoker bill introduced, that of Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer. The PokerStars coalition heartily applauded AB 167, which is all-inclusive with regard to bad actors and racetracks.

Group no. 3

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians make up the final group. Perhaps the most steadfast of the three groups, Pechanga and Agua want nothing to do with horsemen or PokerStars.

So firm in their resolve to exclude, this group would rather be without regulated online poker than to let in horse racing interests and bad actors, Pechanga.net reported. That’s clearly a problem considering that Governor Jerry Brown won’t sign his name to ipoker legislation that leaves out racetracks.

What’s next?

The Western Indian Gaming Conference (WIGC) 2015 kicks off tomorrow, February 10, and runs through the 12th. The sticking points will no doubt be a topic among attendees who gather for the 20th year, this edition held at Harrah’s in Valley Center, California.

The odds of California joining Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware in passing igaming legislation in 2015 were spelled out quite succinctly here. Compromise is needed, but who will budge?

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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.

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