Are California Indian Tribes Changing Their Mind About PokerStars?

For years now, the state of California has tried to enter the online poker industry. The state has considered legislation with proposals created by several lawmakers only to find each proposal shut down before any headway can be gained. The main area of contention for online poker gaming within the state is the Indian Tribes. Several tribes do not want to allow PokerStars to operate within the industry. These tribes would like to see bad actor clauses listed in legislation so that companies such as PokerStars, who operated after the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was created in 2006, will be kept from being involved in the industry.

The tribe’s argument is simple. They believe that the online poker sites who operated within the United States, specifically California, after the UIGEA was enforced, should be allowed to participate. It seems cut and dry, but essentially it is not. PokerStars took every measure after the UIGEA was passed and they were told to shut down, to follow protocol. The brand has done well, even purchasing Full Tilt Poker and helping to see players in the United States reimbursed for funds held after the infamous Black Friday took place.

The tribes that are not happy with the current legislation on the table in California are the Barona Band of Mission Indians, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. The group of tribes actually penned a letter to Assemblyman Adam Gray to let him know they are opposing his measure.

The tribe is now happy with the way that Gray has worded the involvement of PokerStars which has kept the state at an impasse when it comes to passing legislation in regards to online poker gaming. You have this group of tribes on this side while another group of tribes stand with PokerStars, in support of the measure. Both sides will have to concede in some manner if online poker is to be legalized within the state. The opposition will continue to hinder any legislation from taking shape if steps are not taken to remedy the situation.

Now it seems that the opposing tribes may be ready to come to some sort of agreement. According to Online Poker Report, they have sources close to the situation who have revealed that the groups who are opposed may be willing to bend. A recent article at the site states that Gray and Jeff Grubbe, the Chairman of the Agua Caliente, may have been able to convince members of the coalition to consider an amended version of the legislation created by Gray, AB2863.

Even if changes are not made to the measure, PokerStars would still have a way in, it would just mean a lot of money spent to participate in the industry. In the article. It states that the source believes that the opposed tribes have been able to agree to the amended bill ‘in principle’. The changes to the measure would require the online poker brand to wait 10 years before they would be able to enter the online poker industry of California and pay $60 million once that time frame is up.

A ten year gap is a big one to consider and this would allow other groups to gain a strong hold in the online poker industry while PokerStars sits out. The insider also feels that the measure, now amended, will be voted on by a floor vote next week. So, only time will tell if this information is correct and we shall see if online poker is that much closer to fruition within the state of California.