A coalition of six tribes of California have teamed up to try and keep PokerStars from entering the online poker marketplace if legislation is passed within the state. The coalition is led by the Penchanga Band of Luiseno Indians and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and have presented a letter to one legislator sharing their thoughts on PokerStars and current legislation.
The letter was sent to Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer and stated how the tribes are opposed to his legislation, calling it ‘fatally flawed’. The legislation, known as AB 167, was a second bill to be proposed in the state, after Mike Gatto’s AB 9, which the tribes reportedly are in support of.
The coalition based their letter on certain areas of the bill including the bad actors portion. “Bad actors” is a reference to companies that took wagers from players located within the US after the UIGEA was created. The letter discusses indictments of Black Friday in detail focusing on three online poker companies and their mismanagement of funds, and states that players were defrauded of over $300 million.
The letter combines Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker in with PokerStars, the one site which seemed to be clean in all the Black Friday matters. Full Tilt players may never have seen their money if PokerStars had not stepped in and repaid former members of the site. .
The tribes go on to mention the regulators of Nevada and how they added bad actor prohibition to their online poker legislation and placed a five year ban on operators using ‘covered assets’ that were used post-UIGEA including software, data base info, brands, etc. The coalition wants to see similar language in a bill for California which will prohibit Amaya Gaming from offering PokerStars gaming to residents and visitors to California.
The coalition feels that residents of the state need to be protected from bad actors and that the AB 167 legislation has ‘insufficient’ protections that would reward the bad actors as well as the ‘fruits of their illegal conduct’.
In the letter, the tribes also reiterate their opposition to horse racing operators in the state taking part in online poker gaming as well. The tribes believe that allowing horse racing tracks to offer poker gaming online would be an unnecessary expansion of gambling and will be infringing upon their exclusive rights to offer gaming.