Online poker regulation has been put on hold in California until 2015, but the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel believe the time is now to bring real-money online poker to residents of the Golden State.
The tribe is preparing a real-money launch on its PrivateTable.com website at the end of this month and appears fully prepared to defend itself against any legal challenges that may arise. Citing the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) that permits Class II gaming such as bingo and poker but not house-banked games on Indian land, PrivateTable will begin a real-money roll out sometime around August 26-28.
Full speed ahead
That announcement came from Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission Chairman Dave Vialpando in a recent interview with Cardplayer. Vialpando was very forthright during the interview and indicated that all systems are go for the small tribe to blaze a trail regarding the legality of offering real-money online poker in California despite legislation to that effect having missed the mark for yet another year.
Our authority to offer class II gaming from our reservation is not prohibited by any statute,” Vialpando said. “In fact, we believe it is covered by IGRA. Most of our regulations are public documents, so it’s pretty much full disclosure for us. We are moving full speed ahead.”
Whether that full speed will be achieved or halted remains to be seen. Gaming interests throughout California that includes other tribes, cardrooms and racetracks will likely not take too kindly to any one tribe getting a head start in the nation’s largest and potentially most lucrative state for online poker.
Other tribes may jump aboard
While Santa Ysabel is preparing to test the legal waters and go first, the tribe is certainly not aiming to be the only player in town for long. Vialpando expressed an attitude of ‘the more the merrier’ with regard to fellow tribes also getting in on the game and indicated that the tribe he belongs to is “more than willing to assist others.”
“We are encouraging other tribes to follow us because we feel our product is solid and economically viable,” Vialpando added. “After two years of developing our enterprise, we have some knowledge to share with the state. It could be a model adopted by others.”
That real money launch is now just a week or so away. Stay tuned, as however this plays out will certainly be interesting.