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Santa Ysabel Launch Real Money Bingo - Claim Poker is Coming

While Californians are eagerly awaiting the legalization of online poker, one California tribe has moved forward with their iGaming plans.

First reported on, the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel Indians released real-money online bingo on on Monday, becoming the first California tribe to offer legalized iGaming.

Desert Rose Bingo to Use VPNAPS For Proxy Gaming

In a press release issued by the Santa Ysabel, a partnership was announced between the tribe and Great Luck LLC that will allow the tribe to offer browser-based Class II bingo available to California residents 18 and older.

Desert Rose Bingo will use a VPN Aided Play System (VPNAPS) to allow California residents to play real-money bingo. The system allows a player to VPN onto tribal lands where bets will be placed by proxy. Bingo cards will be available in denominations from .01 to $1.

Online Poker Coming Per Marketing Director

While the announcement of online bingo was huge for the tribe, that was not the only breaking news on Monday. In an email circulated to various media outlets, Santa Ysabel Interactive Director of Marketing Chris Wrieden reassured that online poker, dubbed as Phase II of their project, was forthcoming.

We are eager to offer poker to Californians in the coming days…most likely within the next week or two…barring any unanticipated setbacks,” Wrieden stated. “Some believe our promise to bring regulated cash poker games to California has all been a great big bluff, for any number of self-serving reasons. I can tell you it hasn’t been, it just takes time to put all of the pieces together. When we launch it will put our critic’s bluff theory to rest and when we accept our first online bet, we will be on our way to creating change for our industry.”

Online poker had been promised on at least two separate occasions in the past with delays announced both times. It’s uncertain at this time whether the third time will be the charm.

Massive Gamble Considering Lack of Support

While the Santa Ysabel fully believe in their sovereignty to offer real-money bingo and perhaps online poker, their move is still a risky one considering the lack of support from other tribes.

The Pechanga recently came out and stated that they had no interest in pursuing online poker without the passage of a bill at the state level. Considering the “consensus” of tribes seeking to legalize online poker, most tribes will follow their lead. Also, it is unclear whether the tribe will face any legal challenge from state officials for circumventing the legislative process.

Regardless, the Santa Ysabel have made history by becoming the first tribe to offer a legal iGaming product. Time will tell whether this move will help usher in a new era in California iGaming or whether it will become a quaint footnote once the state legislature finally legalizes iPoker.



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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.