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California Tribes Go All In

Bad actor' clause included in bill

California Tribes Go All In

Only one of the large California gaming tribes, the Morongo tribe, has not signed onto a proposed online poker bill that is before the legislature.

In a letter to key lawmakers, including Senator Lou Correa and Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer, 13 gaming tribes indicated their support for a bill that would allow the Golden State to tap into online gaming profits in the largest market in the U.S.

“As you know, this journey has been long and difficult, but the challenges posed by the internet demand that we harness rather than cede the technology of the future for California and for our tribal communities,” said the letter. “In achieving consensus for internet poker, we reaffirm our commitment to the longstanding principle of limited gaming that has guided California’s public policy toward gaming.”

Tribes signing the letter include the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Barona Band of Mission Indians, Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians, Lytton Band of Pomo Indians, Pala Band of Mission Indians, Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Sycuan Band of Kumeyaay Indians, United Auburn Indian Community, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

Morongo opposes the bill because it includes a “bad actor” provision that would effectively bar its partner, PokerStars, the largest online poker company in the world, from participating. The Justice Department alleged that PokerStars violated federal law when it continued to offer online poker to U.S. residents after Congress passed the Unlawful Inernet Gaming Enforcement Act.

PokerStars settled with the Justice Department without admitting guilt. And the recent sale of PokerStars to Amaya may also have an impact on this bad actor clause.