Paskenta Chair: Internet poker breaks tribal compact

"California's economic woes are undisputed. But dire fiscal times do not justify dishonorable deeds and the breaking of commitments.

This state, its governor and this Legislature have entered into tribal-state gaming compacts with 66 California tribal governments. Each compact includes a provision clearly specifying that only federally recognized Indian tribes can offer "gaming devices" to the public.

This provision is consistent with the direction given in an overwhelming vote by Californians in 2000.

Now, however, lawmakers are talking about authorizing poker playing on Internet-connected devices in direct violation of those agreements with tribes. Their apparent rationale? A $20 billion state budget deficit and the chance to turn back the red tide with an Internet poker tax.

Lawmakers could lose far more than they gain for California by making such a move. Since 2004, tribal gaming compacts have required tribes to make hefty payments to the state general fund. Even in a down economy, tribes are pumping hundreds of millions of dollars a year into the state, and that sum is only expected to increase as the economy recovers."

Get the Story:
Leslie Lohse: Internet poker breaks pact with tribes (The Sacramento Bee 2/16)