Friday May 30,2014 : WILL THE CALIFORNIA TRIBES UNVEIL THEIR ONLINE POKER BILL THIS WEEK?
Much anticipated Pechanga and San Manuel tribal proposals should trigger debate.
A bill drafted by the powerful Pechanga and San Manuel tribal coalition for the intrastate legalization of online poker in California may be unveiled this week after months of rumour and speculation, according to tribal lobbyist Jerome Encinas.
The coalition met this week in what is believed to be finalisation talks on the draft bill's content, having reached agreement on its main provisions.
Encinas says that the completed draft will be submitted to state lawmakers in order to initiate the legislative process; there are already two competing online poker legalization bills before the state Legislature.
The key issue in the bill is expected to be the matter of "bad actor" clauses which the Pechanga and San Manuel bands have traditionally sought to include. Bad actor provisions based on the 2006 start date of the UIGEA would exclude strong competitors like Pokerstars, giving the tribal coalition a significant advantage.
However, if there are bad actor clauses in the Pechanga-San Manuel proposal, it is likely to encounter resistance from the influential Morongo tribal group, along with its major California cardroom allies, which have entered into a partnership pact with the global online poker market leader, Pokerstars.
The current Legislative season in California ends in August, exerting some time pressure on lawmakers as the question of legalising intrastate online poker is yet again presented for their consideration.
The potential rewards in the United States' most populous state are considerable; with 38 million residents, online poker revenues – even when restricted within state borders – could reach $500 million in the first full year of operations, according to the most recent analyst and research estimates.