The lack of unity among Indian tribes in California has been a major reason why online poker regulation has not yet been put into play. But those tribes tend to agree on one issue – keeping particular gaming interests out.
Most of the tribes have been steadfast in excluding the state’s racetracks from being a part of a possible Internet poker regime. And the tribes have now found common ground against another entity that may want a piece of the ipoker revenue pie – bad actors.
Just days after the California Tribal Business Alliance (CTBA) spoke out against a possible alliance between the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, a few card rooms and PokerStars, several more tribes have issued a “Joint Tribal Statement on iPoker Bad Actors.”
Taking aim at PokerStars in particular and bad actors in general, the statement was signed by a dozen tribal leaders who “urge the State Legislature to maintain the highest standard of suitability in order to prevent unscrupulous entities and brands from any involvement in legislatively authorized internet poker opportunities.”
Of the dozen tribes that affixed their names to the joint statement, three belong to the CTBA and two tribes each support AB 2291 and SB 1366, the current online poker bills pending before the legislature. Both bills include bad actor clauses.
PokerStars, of course, is seen as public enemy no. 1 among gaming companies who are quick to point out that the site continued operating in the U.S. post-UIGEA until the hammer came down on Black Friday. However, PokerStars is not viewed as an enemy by the over 180,000 players who flock to the site’s SitNGo, MTT, play-money, and cash tables at any one time.
“Although we presently have slightly differing views on a legislative framework for Intrastate Internet Poker in California, our tribal governments are united in our steadfast opposition to the easing of regulatory standards that would accommodate bad actors whose past behavior and tainted brands and assets would erode the integrity of Intrastate Internet poker under consideration,” said the statement published by Pechanga.net.
California, as most already know, has more residents than any of the 50 states and would be the crown jewel of any regulated online poker scheme in the U.S. The failure of tribes to unite on the online gambling issue has severely hampered progress up until now. Whether or not this newfound unity will result in Internet poker legislation eventually being approved remains to be seen.