Morongo Band spent $250K on lobbying for Internet poker plan

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians spent $250,000 to lobby state lawmakers on a proposal to legalize Internet poker, Capitol Weekly reports.

Last year, the Morongo Band and non-Indian card clubs proposed an exclusive contract to run online games in the state. The effort was met with stiff opposition from other tribes.

This year, the Morongo Band still supports Internet poker. The tribe has raised concerns about a bill that would open up the bidding to other groups but is willing to work on it, a spokesperson said.

“We have a bill in front of us,” Patrick Dorinson, the spokesperson or the California Tribal Intrastate Internet Poker Consortium, told Capitol Weekly. “We have people that want to work together. Let’s work together."

The Morongo Band doesn't appear to have found any allies in Indian Country though. The Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations and the California Tribal Business Alliance remain outright opposed to Internet gaming and to the bill that was debated this week.

"We’re going to fight this," David Quintana, the political director of CalTBA, told Capitol Weekly.

Sen. Roderick Wright (D), the bill's sponsor, chaired a hearing of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee to discuss the proposal. He indicated it probably won't get passed this year.

Get the Story:
Online poker fight pits tribes against tribes (Capitol Weekly 7/1)

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