California Nations Indian Gaming Association Disappointed in Progression of Online Poker

For years, the state of California has been discussing online poker gaming. There always seems to be something standing in the way of the state becoming the new to join the online poker industry of the US and this week, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association has spoke out on the subject.

Indian tribes play a major role in casino gaming in the state and would naturally be involved in the online poker industry if legislation was ever passed to allow the activity. After the removal of online poker legislation from the scheduled hearing by the California State Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization, the CNIGA gave the government officials a piece of their mind.

A bill created by the committee chairman Adam Gray was heard while a poker measure introduced by Representative Reginald Jones-Sawyer was removed from the hearing, one that would have discussed online poker gaming. Instead, the hearing covered the subject of daily fantasy sports. The tribes are not happy with the incident and do not want to see DFS take the spotlight instead of online poker gaming.

The chairman of the CNIGA, Steve Stallings, stated that the group is displeased with the DFS bill moving forward and being discussed instead of the online poker gaming legislation. The CNIGA is one of the largest coalitions of tribal gaming groups in the state of California, composed of 32 members, 23 that actually operate brick and mortar casinos within the state.

As a whole, the group is in favor of legislation that would offer online poker within the state and includes such groups as the San Manuel and Morongo tribes. Both of these tribes have signed a deal with PokerStars to partner with online poker gaming when or if legislation is ever passed within the state.

Speaking on the matter, Stallings stated that the group realizes that the two other bills on the agenda of the hearing that took place, AB 1441 of sports betting and AB 1437 of daily fantasy sports, had shared the spot on the schedule with the AB 167 measure, one for online poker. The online poker bill was pointed out as one that has continually been passed over and debated without the hope of consensus.

The state of California cannot seem to see a consensus reached in regards to online poker gaming. Some groups have compromised and are fine with everyone being involved, from race tracks to brands like PokerStars. Others do not wish to see PokerStars offering services within the state and do not want to see the race tracks involved as well.

Stallings stated that while the daily fantasy sports discussion of regulation is well intended, the state needs to prove they can deal with one area of online gaming, online poker, before taking on any more areas in the online gambling industry.

Stallings believes that the recent media hype of the daily sports fantasy industry has push poker out of the lime light as officials want to protect consumer interests, keeping bettors from being victimized by an unregulated industry. However, the same can be said for online poker as the activity is not legalized within the state and the government is not regulating the activity that is taking place. Players are accessing sites that are located off-shores which takes money from the state as well as puts players in a less than secure environment.

For now, the CNIGA has announced their displeasure in the state’s most recent hearing involving DFS and removing online poker. It will be interesting to see how the state progresses and if DFS legislation will be passed as online poker is left by the wayside.