Californian Tribe Opens Online Poker Room PrivateTable.comJuly 14, 2014 6:31 pm
Not content to wait for the state of California to agree on internet poker legislation, The Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel has, instead, decided to launch its own play money ipoker site PrivateTable.com, with the intention of introducing real money cash games possibly within the next few days. In a first example of its kind, the Indian tribe cited its sovereign rights as justification for the surprise move, with a press release stating the following:
“In offering online gaming through Santa Ysabel Interactive, the Tribe is exerting its sovereign right under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to regulate and conduct Class II gaming from the tribe’s reservation. Class II gaming, as defined by IGRA, includes poker and bingo, but does not include slot-based games or house-banked games, such as blackjack.”
The PrivateTable.com poker room is already up and running using Winning Poker Network software, and is currently offering free play poker games, including Texas Hold´em, Omaha and Stud Poker cash games. Californian residents over the age of 18 are able to open accounts, and when real money options become available players will be able to deposits and make withdrawals using the Finpay (Financial Payment Network) e-wallet.
The tribe operated the Santa Ysabel Casino until 2012, before declaring the venue bankrupt with $50 million in debts. Interestingly, tribal chairman Virgil Perez said at the time he intended to explore ‘gaming on a limited scale,’ but no one was expecting such a pioneering move.
California is the wealthiest and most populous state in the whole of the US, and the Santa Ysabel tribe is now putting themselves in a prime position to explore the huge potential market. If other Californian tribal interests also decide to follow suit, then it could encourage other Indian tribes across the country to pursue a similar path.
There are still a number of significant hurdles ahead if the Santa Ysabel tribe is to realize its goal of real money online poker, though, the most important of which is the legal resistance it could soon face from both state and federal regulators, as well as from a number of Californian tribes and gaming interests.