Two Indian Tribes Urging Tribal Coalition to Come to Online Poker Consensus

California StateThe passage of online poker legislation in the state of California is slow going as invested parties cannot seem to come to an agreement as to how the regulation should take place as well as who should be involved in the industry. From tribal interests to card rooms and race tracks, the state has many groups that want to be involved but no legislation on the table that meets everyone’s demands.

Now, two Indian tribes have come forward to ask the tribal coalition of the state to try and have an open mind when it comes to who should be eligible for licensing to offer online poker in California. Extend eligibility to race tracks to help the state move forward with legislation and get started in the marketplace.

Laurie E. Gonzalez is a council member of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians who sent out a press release just last week on the subject. In the release, Gonzalez urged the other tribes to try and come to a consensus for online poker legislation. Gonzalez asked the tribes to stop digging their heels into the ground and move forward with some type of compromise. Six coalition tribes along with the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians are opposed to licensing the race tracks in California to offer online poker gaming.

Also asking for a consensus was the San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians by way of Chair Lynn Valbuena. During the Capitol Weekly gambling conference keynote address, Valbuena stated that tribes need to have an open mind like the San Manuel Band on the subject of race track licensing.

The Pechanga coalition includes the following tribes:

  • Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
  • Barona Band of Mission Indians
  • Lytton Band of Pomo Indians
  • Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation
  • Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians
  • Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation

Each tribe is in agreement that the race industry of California should not be involved in online poker. The group feels as though the card rooms and tribes should be the only option for online gaming. If race tracks were allowed, the coalition feels as though the exclusivity of tribal governments to offer casino gambling would be eroded.

Racing officials will argue that they have the right to offer poker gaming online legally if legislation were put in place to permit the activity. The group states they will not settle for a subsidy of revenues from online gaming instead of being given the opportunity to offer such gaming.

Valbuena tried to make her point by stating that the argument has been ongoing for seven years and something needs to be done to allow the activity to take place. Valbuena pointed out that all the tribes have the same goals and objectives and must stay together to work through the process to see an online poker bill passed.

Valbuena further stated that the San Manuel Band believes online poker is a business opportunity and is not a threat to the greater community of tribes in the state of California. The tribe looks at online poker as a commercial gaming matter and does not believe that exclusive option to offer Class II casino style gaming in the state will be threatened with online poker options in the state.

If no consensus can be reached, the state will not be able to move forward with online poker legislation. California seems to be in limbo when it comes to online poker and shows no sign of making in changes to see the activity come to pass. Only time will tell if California will ever be able to provide online poker gaming to residents and visitors of the state.