Sunday April 05,2015 : CALIFORNIA BREAKTHROUGH ON INTERNET POKER?
Pechanga change of heart on bad actor clauses?
A report over the weekend on the respected information site Online Poker Report suggests that an influential tribal group – the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians – may be moving away from its insistence that any California online poker legalization bills contain "bad actor" exclusion clauses against companies that provided online gambling services to US players post-the 2006 UIGEA.
Such a change of heart would obviously be welcomed by Pokerstars, which is in a Californian coalition with other tribal groups and cardrooms which do not favour such clauses
The report appears to be based on a discussion last week between the anti-bad actor clause Morongo Band chairman Robert Martin and his Pechanga opposite number Mark Macarro, who were attending the National Indian Gaming Association convention in San Diego.
Martin opined that the two tribes are "…pretty closely aligned except when it comes to the [race] tracks. I agree with him.”
He was referring to the Pechanga's opposition to legalised online poker being offered by California racetracks, which have expressed a strong interest in entering the sector if it is made lawful.
However, the Pechanga are hardly consistent in their approach to the bad actor issue; InfoPowa readers will recall that earlier this year they were signatories to a letter to Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer opposing his proposal due to its lack of a bad actor clause.
For the Pechanga, it would appear that legalised online poker in California without a bad actor clause is the lesser of two evils, the other being the involvement in online poker of the racetracks, which is its main concern.
In the complicated political situation in California, the state government and some legislators would reportedly be reluctant to exclude the racetracks, which have the necessary experience and regulatory oversight to justify involvement in the new online revenue stream.
However, a united front among the tribal gambling groups on the racetrack issue could be a powerful counter balance to lawmakers' attitudes. Whether that can be achieved remains to be seen, and there have been various alternatives put forward that include offering the racetracks subsidies to stay out of the field, or simply include them in the mix and compete with them.