California Tribes Ambivalent About Online Poker

Another round of talks about legalizing online poker in the Golden State

American gambling laws - GamingZion

As online gambling is becoming legal in Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey, and as California lawmakers are looking at the options at their disposal, casino operating tribes meanwhile have mixed feelings about the whole concept.

Ever since the DOJ clarified it a few years back that American gambling laws do not specifically prohibit states from licensing intra-state online gambling operators, California has seen many discussions and some proposals, but no successful legalization attempts so far.

Opposition from some tribes who fear that online gambling would undercut brick-and-mortar casino revenues.

Nevertheless, representatives of the tribal casino industry are also beginning to recognize that online gambling will not stop. Earlier this month Ultimate Poker, the first legal online poker sites in the US, opened its virtual doors to the Nevada public, and more are likely to follow.

If you can’t beat them, join them – this may be the new strategy emerging from countless of meetings between the tribes and the state’s lawmakers.

One such tribe is the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, who opposed any online legalization before.

According to chairman Marc Macarro, the tribe’s position “is evolving. Tribes are primed right now to begin moving it, to begin working with state legislators to see something to fruition.”

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians are two other tribes engaged in these discussions and are looking to develop a unified proposal.

There are some speculations that such a proposal would remove several casino games from the list of authorized online games, while allowing poker. There have been no talks about sports betting, since there are only four states where residents can bet on sports in the US, and California is not among them.

Should the courts eventually rule in favor of New Jersey’s challenge to the status quo, this would necessitate another round of discussions in states where gambling is legal, including California.

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