Opinion: Pascua Yaqui Tribe shows how Internet gaming is here

"Over the past several years, a major topic of discussion at virtually every gaming conference in the United States has centered on one statement: "The question is not whether we will have internet gaming, but when."

The "when" seems to be now.

The breakthrough occurred only a few days ago in Southern Arizona with the introduction of i-gaming at the Pascua Yaqui's Casino del Sol website. The available i-gaming includes poker, slots, blackjack and roulette, and it is offered to individuals visiting the Pascua Yaqui's brick-and-mortar casino in Tucson. While it is illegal under both state and federal law to conduct i-gaming for cash, the Pascua Yaqui casino is operating lawfully by giving "virtual cash" to its i-gaming players who then can pursue "free" internet gaming. There are no cash prizes. Everyone involved acknowledges that the play-for-"no pay" is little more than a practice run for the day when i-gaming is lawful in Arizona. Like the speakers at national gaming conferences, they accept that the only remaining unknown as to i-gaming being offered for cash prizes is the elusive "when."

The core ingredient to the Pascua Yaqui i-gaming is the Double-Down Casino system developed and currently being offered to casinos at no cost by International Gaming Technology. The casinos can put Double Down on their web sites for non-cash play. There are no wagers, but there is money involved, both in theory and fact. Players who sign up get $1 million in "virtual chips" at no cost and can spend it in the virtual casino. However, they can spend that freebie in no time at all, because the Pascua Yaqui have imposed a $100 bet for a single line on a slot machine, and the lowest buy-in at a poker table is $250. Moreover, they offer what is being called a "black tie" table, and the bets start at an eye-popping $200,000."

Get the Story:
Dennis J. Whittlesey: At Long Last, Tribal i-Gaming Is On! (Well, Sort Of….) (Monaq.com 10/5)
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Also Today:
Casino starts online gaming that's not 'gambling' (The Arizona Daily Star 9/24)