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California Tribes' Online Poker Bill Coming Next Week

An online poker bill being drafted by two coalitions of influential California Indian tribes will likely be ready for introduction to state lawmakers next week.

Coalitions fronted by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians and the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians met again on Tuesday to iron out additional specifics of the proposal. According to tribal lobbyist Jerome Encinas, discussions between the tribal factions are now 99.9% complete and the tribal-backed measure is nearly ready for perusal by lawmakers.

The meeting went well,” Encinas told eGaming Review. “All issues are resolved and we are now in the process of setting up meetings with legislators to discuss how we move forward.”

While those tribes have resolved their concerns, yet to be decided is how the Morongo Band of Mission Indians will view the soon-to-be introduced proposal. The Morongo tribe has reached agreement on a partnership with PokerStars and a triumverate of the state’s largest card rooms, and if unfavorable bad actor language is included in the new bill, don’t expect the Morongo tribe to be sharing a peace pipe with Pechanga and San Manuel.

However, rumors floating around last week indicated that the bad actor issue has been addressed in the latest measure. Whether it meets the approval of the Morongo/PokerStars/Cardrooms partnership is not absolutely clear at this point in time.

The 2014 legislative session in California runs through August and the tribal coalitions are hoping that their proposal will be approved and enacted this year. That goes double for Internet poker players and pro-online gambling forces who have been busy countering the attempts of Sheldon Adelson‘s Coalition to Stop Internet Gambling that is aimed at derailing the push for online poker legislation.

Recent census figures show more than 38 million residing in California, by far the most populous state in the nation over the 26 million living in no. 2-ranked Texas. Estimates of online poker revenue reaching $500 million in the first year of operation in the Golden State are hard to ignore.



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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.