Indian Tribes Unite Against PokerStars Californian Venture

Indian Tribes Unite Against PokerStars Californian VentureHaving found itself excluded from the regulated online gambling states of Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, PokerStars is currently pinning its American hopes on the country’s most populated and affluent state of California.
Recently, the world’s biggest online poker room announced it was close to securing a deal with the state’s Morongo tribe, and keen not to repeat the mistakes of the past, PokerStars has been attempting to have any ‘bad actor’ clauses omitted from the two bills currently being considered, namely State Senator Lou Correa’s SB 1366, and Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer AB 2291.
Bad actors labels are reserved for those online gambling sites who continued operating in the US after the UIGEA was passed in 2006. PartPoker, for instance, withdrew from the US market soon after the act was passed and has since been readmitted and finds itself at the forefront of the country’s nascent online poker industry. PokerStars, on the other hand, filled the void left by partyPoker back in 2006 and only ceased operating after the Department of Justice shut its American operation down in 2011.
Needless to say, PokerStars has accrued significant opposition in the US, where it is currently viewed as just another unregulated, offshore operator. In addition, gambling businesses also would like to prevent PokerStars gaining a competitive edge in the country, and so have been thwarting its moves at every turn. In the latest example, twelve California Indian tribes have now united to oppose removing any “bad actor” clause from any future Californian internet poker legislation, with their joint statement, reading:
“Although we presently have slightly differing views on a legislative framework for Intrastate Internet Poker in California, our tribal governments are united in our steadfast opposition to the easing of regulatory standards that would accommodate bad actors whose past behavior and tainted brands and assets would erode the integrity of Intrastate Internet poker under consideration.”
Naturally, PokerStars has refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing and accused those publicly opposing it as “misrepresenting the Unlawful Internet Enforcement Gambling Act,” subsequently stipulating that the company “looks forward to demonstrating our suitability to the regulator just like any other company seeking to operate in California and investing in a fair and well-regulated market.”
At present, however, it appears likely PokerStars will not be accepted by California any time soon, and ironically its attempts to have any ‘bad actor’ clauses removed from legislation could, instead, cause the fragile alliance between Indian Tribes and cardrooms to collapse and potentially scupper any attempts to pass online gaming legislation this year.

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