Tribes remain divided as internet poker bill fails again in California

The Morongo Band of Mission Indians owns and operates the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa in Cabazon, Califonria Photo from Facebook

Efforts to legalize internet poker in California failed once again as politically prominent tribes remain divided on key provisions.

Tribes are at the table because their Class III gaming compacts promise exclusivity on games like poker. But a controversial "bad actors" provision in AB 2863 prevented its passage before the end of the legislative session on Wednesday.

The provision -- supported by some tribes -- would have barred certain companies from doing business in the state for five years. The penalty was aimed at PokerStars, which paid a multi-million dollar settlement to the Obama administration to address allegations of illegal gambling.

Other tribes objected because they are partners with Amaya, which acquired PokerStars after the settlement.

“AB 2863 met the same fate of past measures because opponents once again attempted to unconstitutionally limit competition by effectively barring one operator in perpetuity from the California marketplace,” Chairman Robert Martin of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians told The Los Angeles Times.

The Morongo Band and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians formed a coalition with Amaya and non-Indian card clubs to support online poker. They opposed AB 2863 when the "bad actors" provision surfaced.

On the other side of the battle were the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.

"This was the most viable path to legalizing Internet poker in the last eight years,” Chairman Mark Macarro of the Pechanga Band told The Times. “The bill protects consumers and ensures bad actors do not profit from illicit activities.”

Read More on the Story:
Internet poker bill dies amid bickering between competing gambling interests (The Los Angeles Times 9/1)
California iPoker Efforts Over For 2016 (Online Poker 8/31)
California Online Poker Bill Dead in Sacramento (Poker Sites 8/29)

Join the Conversation

Related Stories
California tribes remain divided on efforts to legalize online poker (07/15)
Morongo Band and San Manuel Band question fantasy sports bill (02/11)
Editorial: Legalize Internet gaming and fantasy sports in California (01/25)
Tribes in California call for hearing on Internet poker legislation (01/07)
California Nations Indian Gaming Association elects leadership (12/15)
California tribes still divided over efforts to legalize online poker (05/27)
Bo Mazzetti: California must regulate Internet poker games (05/18)
Editorial: Regulate online poker games to protect consumers (5/12)
Dave Palermo: Tribes in California assert right to Internet poker (04/24)
Opinion: Tribes must be at table for Internet poker in California (02/23)
Tribal leaders urge unity and compromise in online poker talks (02/12)