Robert H. Smith, a California Tribal Business Alliance official, spoke to the media and told United States gambling news that his organization isn’t opposing the legalization of online poker. However he insisted that the state’s Legislature researched the issue more thoroughly.
Smith opined that legalization initiatives in California, generating tribal disagreement, referred not to legalization in principle, but to “the unintended consequences of sloppy legislation & the appropriate way to head into the online gaming future.”
Last year’s halt in legalization of online poker sites in United States was attributed to general feeling among tribal representatives that proposals were not fair and open, and didn’t protect tribal sovereignty, existing gaming compacts and tribal economies.
Smith told Sacramento Bee: “For the record, the California Tribal Business Alliance does not oppose the legalization of Internet poker. But we do believe it is critical for the California Legislature to exercise its due diligence and consult with tribal governments before moving forward with a policy that will significantly alter the gaming landscape in California, as well as impact agreements among tribal, state and local governments.”
Smith shared some key principles, which law-makers should take into consideration, when altering American gambling laws in order to allow online poker in the country:
- No compromise of the inherent rights of tribal governments, modification of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act or ill-treatment of existing tribal-state gaming compacts
- Tribes must be allowed to accept bets from customers outside Indian lands
- Legalization must be limited to online poker
- Any new law must forbid play at online cafes, or allow players to withdraw funds at land-based casinos
- Legalization laws must forbid foreign companies, their principals and contractors that previously violated the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act
- There should be no tax on Indian operations
- The federal Wire Act of 1961 must be respected
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