Santa Ysabel Introduces Real-Money Online Bingo

It’s not a poker site, but the Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel has gone forward with live online gambling for real money with a bingo site.

The tribe had been talking about launching an online poker game, but instead went with DesertRoseBingo.com first. The site is being operated in conjunction with Great Luck and is a VPN-based product that employs proxy play.

“The Iipay Nation is excited to be the first tribal government in America to deploy Great Luck’s VPNAPS technology,” said David Chelette, president of Santa Ysabel Interactive, the tribal economic development entity operating the venture. “As the owner-operator, this licensing agreement not only underscores the sovereignty of Santa Ysabel to offer Class II bingo, it also represents the use of innovative technology to reach users. The Desert Rose Bingo enterprise will offer this small rural community and the Iipay Nation a positive economic impact.”

The site is open to California residents located in California. Players must be 18 or older.

The site is a move by the tribe to offer online play without state sanction—a right it says it has under its tribal autonomy.

“At no time is live bingo game action performed by the user,” the tribe said in a release. “This ensures that all game play takes place on tribal lands, under the jurisdiction of the tribal government, and is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.”

The tribe maintains that by offering Class II gaming—defined as poker and bingo under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988—it is exerting its sovereign rights, regardless of whether it is legal at the state or federal level.

Either way, the site could bring challenges from the state and could be a factor in the current debate in the California legislature on a bill to regulate online poker.

The tribe, however, expects to launch online poker soon.

“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,” Chris Wrieden, director of marketing for Santa Ysabel Interactive, told pokerfuse. “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 critics’ bluff theory to rest, and when we accept our first online bet, we will be on our way to creating change for our industry.”