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Federal legislation introduced earlier this month to ban online poker and gambling is putting the heat on California tribes.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz again introduced the Restoration of America’s Wire Act (RAWA) this year, aimed at getting rid of igaming in the U.S., including the Internet poker and gambling regimes already operating in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey since 2013.

As the nation’s most populous state, an approved online poker bill in California would go a long way toward putting the kibosh on any approval of RAWA by federal lawmakers. California tribes, seven of whom are split into three factions that remain at odds over the inclusion of PokerStars and racetracks in the state’s possible ipoker scheme, continue to hold up progress in advancing online poker legislation.

Confer and compromise

During the Western Indian Gaming Conference now underway at Harrah’s Resort in California, it was pointed out that compromise is required among tribes now that RAWA has once again reared its ugly head. Those fighting factions have a real opportunity to strike a blow to the efforts of Sheldon Adelson and his Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling, the force behind RAWA.

It’s plain to see that racetracks need to be included, as any legislation that appears in the in-box of Governor Jerry Brown that excludes California’s horsemen will not reach his out-box – instead likely landing in the circular file reserved for rubbish. It’s also evident that PokerStars needs to be part of the game plan, as teaming with two of the state’s most influential Indian tribes and its three biggest cardrooms cannot be ignored.

Whether its a financial penalty or some amount of time that bad actors must wait before being allowed to participate in California’s online poker regime, the tribes are under increased pressure to reach agreement on the issue. Should those powerful tribes refuse to bend and continue the current stalemate, RAWA may gain momentum and put an end to regulated online poker in any of the 50 states, California included.

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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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